Our health is something that should be maintained and kept as a priority all year long. However, the holiday season may be the most important time of the year to focus on the imbalances and deficiencies in our health. The excessiveness of the holidays can push our physiological processes beyond their limit and put us into a “health debt” of sorts as the New Year begins.
Below is what I consider the two major areas of focus in regards to our health during the holiday season.
With the holidays, comes over indulgence in sweets, rich foods, and eating in higher quantities than usual. This can put extra stress on ones digestive processes and capabilities. When this occurs, symptoms such as abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, excessive gas, heartburn, nausea, and poor quality bowel movements can occur. These symptoms clearly point out that food is not being effectively digested.
Taking digestive enzymes, bitter herbs, and carminative herbs are great options to keep digestion calm and efficient. However, if poor digestion and bowel movements is something that is occurring all year long, and especially if it fits the picture of IBS, it is extremely important to be assessed and tested for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) – the #1 root cause of IBS. I diagnose and treat SIBO multiple times a day in practice. Yes, it is that common. And this makes sense, since about 15 – 20% of North Americans suffer from IBS symptoms, and about 85% of people with IBS symptoms, have SIBO.
Adrenal Gland Health
As much fun and event filled the holidays can be, it is very much underlined with excessive levels of stress. Continuing every day life, but adding in party’s, dinners, family visits, and shopping, stress builds and builds as each day goes by. This can lead to the adrenal glands either working excessively aka “wired and tired”, or working to a point of adrenal exhaustion aka “burn out”.
The adrenal glands produce hormones that are nicknamed the “stress hormones”. In normal amounts, produced at the correct times, they provide many health benefits. However, if produced in excessive amounts and at the wrong times, they can wreak havoc and cause symptoms such as insomnia, tension, anxiety, high blood pressure, and decreased immunity. And if your adrenal glands have worked so hard that they become underactive aka “burned out”, you can no longer produce an efficient stress response and symptoms such as excessive fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and poor inflammatory response can occur.
Have your naturopathic physician assess whether you are in the “wired and tired” or “burn out” stage of adrenal health. This will make it clear which herbs and nutrients you need to re-balance your adrenal and stress response health.
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