During the winter months of the year, you might feel as if you are cooped up inside for months. The cloudy days, cold weather and germs that circulate through communities may wreak havoc on your gut. You can restore gut health and take good care of the rest of your body during the wintertime by following these five tips.

1. Exercise

Regular exercise keeps your digestive system’s muscles contracting at a regular rate of speed. Gravity also helps to move things along. You do not have to run 10 miles a day in order to enjoy the benefits of exercise and restore gut health. Getting at least 10,000 steps today through walking, raking leaves or shoveling snow will benefit you.

2. Get Enough Rest

A lot of your digestion takes place at night while you are asleep. If you have irregular sleep patterns, your digestive system may become disrupted. Not getting enough sleep could leave you tired and cause you to make poor dietary decisions, which causes additional issues for gut health. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Avoid eating within two hours of going to bed.

3. Step Into the Sunshine

During the wintertime, many people experience sadness. Seasonal effective disorder also affects may people during the winter months of the year. Changes in your mood can slow down your gut. Any time you feel stress or experience depression, your body makes hormones that affect your digestion. Getting into the sunshine for at least 15 minutes could help. Consider investing in a full-spectrum light bulb to use in your lamps on days that are overcast with clouds.

4. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important year-round. Without enough water in your digestive tract, stool may become hard and difficult to pass. Your body will also have a difficult time getting rid of toxins if you are dehydrated. Even when it is cold outside, aim to drink six to eight glasses of water daily. If you engage in vigorous exercise such as shoveling snow for an hour, drink more. Remember that alcoholic and caffeinated drinks dehydrate your body.

5. Turn to Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are one of the best ways to restore gut health during the winter. They contain a lot of water, plenty of vitamin C to fight inflammation and infection and both soluble and insoluble fiber to move things along in your gut. Eating the fruit is the best way to gain these benefits. Juice is okay in moderation. Consider consuming citrus fruits at the same time as iron-rich foods. For example, add mandarin orange slices to a spinach salad at lunch.

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