Lots of people start January with a resolution or good intentions about making a change to their life. I’m no different although I tend to wait until the school holidays are over and we are back to our usual routine, as I think new habits have to fit into day-to-day life. By the time the schools have gone back, the Christmas food is all eaten up and that strange, slightly surreal time, when you don’t know what day of the week it is, has past.
Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are health related and that’s no surprise after the excesses of the festive season and as many of us book our summer holidays about now, we are already picturing ourselves on the beach. In fact, exercise, losing weight, eating healthier and actively taking a better approach to health all top the list of New Year goals. However, research shows that 80% of resolutions fail by February. This high failure rate may be an indication that many of us set goals that are too difficult to keep, or set too many to keep track of!
We are going for a gentle approach to getting healthier this year. So far there has been more exercise and more getting outdoors than I usually manage in the winter. I’ve tried to fit in something physical most days: a walk, some housework, a yoga class. It’s easier of course on a day the sun is shining than on a gloomy, grey, wet day.
I’m trying to make some other changes too connected to food: a few less puddings, more fruit and vegetables, portion control. I find that a bit harder though so I’ve been looking for ways to get healthier that feel more achievable.
New research from ProVen Probiotics shows that more than half of Brits have poor gut health, which is affecting their weight (41%), mood (49%), confidence (42%) and eating decisions (49%). Taking care of your gut health is a simple and easily achievable New Year’s resolution. It’s also really important! Think of your gut as a home for some of the central functions in your body. Not only do the digestive and immune systems heavily rely on it, but it is also responsible for your overall wellbeing.
I’m keen to avoid bugs this winter as I can’t really afford to be ill. I did have the flu jab in the autumn, but I’ve heard that it isn’t proving that effective this year, so I’m looking at other ways of staying healthy. Christmas is such a busy time and it often feels very stressful with so many things to tick off the to-do-list before the big day.
Consultant Dietitian, Helen Bond, says that: “The knock on effects of Christmas and New Year celebrations, such as too much stress, too many late nights and partying, can put your gut bacteria out of balance, allowing the less desirable types of gut bacteria such as Clostridium difficile and E. Coli to increase. The upshot could be reduced immunity, making you more susceptible to the winter bugs you might otherwise be able to fight off. However, you can improve your microflora with probiotics, which are friendly strains of gut bacteria. You can boost your level of probiotics with yogurt or drinks, fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut, and fermented milk drinks, like kefir. You could also take a high quality probiotic supplement, like ProVen Probiotics Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus – 25 billion. The richer and more diverse the microflora in your gut, the healthier and more resilient to illness you will be – so it’s in your best interests to take action to keep your bacteria in fighting form.”
So the last few weeks I’ve been taking a daily probiotic to help maintain my gut health and H has been taking a combined probiotic and multivitamin too. It feels like a resolution that we can keep up beyond January and February through the year to become a lasting habit. I have been taking the ProVen Probiotics Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus – 25 billion which is a high-strength friendly bacteria supplement for adults containing Lab4 – the most studied group of friendly bacteria in the UK. It has been shown to help with bloating, IBS and supporting the gut both during and following a course of antibiotics. It also contains calcium, vitamins C and D, zinc and selenium to help support digestion and immunity. Available from Boots and Holland & Barrett stores nationwide (RRP £13.95 for 30 capsules).