-Don't be one of the 54% of Brits set to overindulge-
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The celebrations may already be in full swing, but new research from gutweek.org.uk reveals that the event packed summer will negatively affect our eating habits and could result in 54% of us overindulging, consequently putting our gut under unnecessary strain.
The study, carried out to coincide with Gut Week 2012 (25th June-1st July), a national campaign which aims to raise awareness of good gut health, shows that following the recent Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a third (33%) of Brits enjoyed more food than they usually would. Over one in ten (12%) indulged in more alcohol and 10% had more 'on the go' foods, such as burgers, hot dogs and chips. With celebrations such as Euro 2012 already underway and the Olympics fast approaching, the research shows that Brits have no intention of halting their overeating. A quarter (25%) anticipate they'll consume more alcohol and 20%, eat more takeaways during the remaining Euro 2012 championship than normal, and one in ten (10%) will scoff more sweet treats during Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympic Games, than they usually would.
Celebrations fit for a Queen
With almost two thirds (63%) celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and nearly a fifth (18%) attending street parties, it appears this revelry has thrown our eating habits into disarray. A fifth (20%) admitted to snacking in between meals over the long weekend, with 14% eating out or on-the-go, rather than preparing meals and cooking at home. One in seven (14%) ate at odd or irregular times, such as late at night. But these changes have come with a price:
- One in ten (10%) Brits drank more alcohol, consequently consuming more food than they usually would with a quarter(25%) devouring takeaway foods, such as kebabs and pizza the same night.
- When it comes to hangovers, nearly a fifth (17%) opted for comforting stodgy foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta as their food of choice and 15%, savoury fatty foods, such as fry-ups.
- 11% say they felt sluggish as a result of the foods they ate.
- And, 11% say they felt exhausted, lethargic and sleep deprived as a result of all the celebrations.
Dr Nick Read, physician, psychotherapist and Medical Adviser to the IBS Network comments, "With the Olympics and Euro 2012 taking place, it's going to be a thrilling summer, but do pace yourself. The Gut Week research shows that a staggering 85% of us aren't aware of the negative effect that certain foods have on the way that we feel, so watch what you eat – avoid too much fatty, spicy or processed food and give yourself time to relax and eat it. Drink plenty of water, go easy on the alcohol and get enough sleep. There's a lot going on and if you don't take care, the first place that will be affected is your gut. It's your warning signal that you're doing, eating or drinking too much, so keep it happy and you'll enjoy your summer".
Dr Tom Smith, Chief Executive at digestive health charity Core has put together the following tips on how to get your digestive health back on track for the remainder of the season:
- Keep moving! - Exercise can help create a healthy digestive environment by allowing food to move through the large intestine much quicker. So, where possible during the summer, run or walk to the events you may be watching or exercise whilst watching the TV to keep you active whilst in the house.
- Small, regular portions - Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to keep your energy up. This can help to avoid you feeling hungry at the next meal, which may consequently lead to you eating larger portions that you need to.
- Hydrate, hydrate - Water is essential for a healthy digestive system – it provides the moisture it needs to function properly. Sometimes our body mistakes hunger for thirst, so drinking at least two litres of water a day during the summer will prevent unnecessary overeating and keep you hydrated.
- Daily top-up - Stress, lack of sleep and poor diet choices are all factors, which can lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria. A daily probiotic can help to top up levels of good bacteria, whilst prebiotic foods, such as bananas, leeks, onions and whole grains can encourage your own beneficial bacteria to multiply.