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Resolve to be regular: New years tips to get your digestive system 'back on tract'

Health Nutrition

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If you haven't been kind to your body over the holidays, you'll definitely feel it by the start of the new year. Activities like jetting cross-country to see friends and family, overdoing it on eggnog, and generally being a couch potato can cause digestive discomfort. If you wake up on January 1st feeling bloated, constipated, or crampy, rest assured you are not alone.


Nearly half of all Americans will make a New Year's resolution this year, one survey found. Many of the most popular resolutions are aimed at self-improvement, like watching what you eat and making more frequent trips to the gym. While diet and exercise are great first steps to set yourself on the right track, sometimes it can take more than that to truly feel better-especially if you're one of the more than 65 million Americans who suffer from digestive problems like occasional constipation, which can be exacerbated around this time of year.


"We're so busy at this time of the year that many of us don't think about eating right or have time to exercise regularly, which can contribute to occasional constipation and other digestive issues," says Dr. Cynthia Yoshida, a gastroenterologist and the author of "No More Digestive Problems." "But the good news is there are simple solutions to restoring your natural balance that may surprise you. This new year, it's easy to resolve to be regular."


Below are some tips for helping ease your digestive distress in the New Year:


1. Be "aisle astute" at the Drugstore. Dr.Yoshida urges consumers to educate themselves about over-the-counter options to treat occasional constipation. Not all laxatives are created equal: some don't work at all, and others may have harsh side effects like urgency or diarrhea, a major inconvenience around holiday times. Dr. Yoshida recommends MiraLAX, the No. 1 physician-recommended laxative. It's safe to use, and doesn't cause the unpleasant side effects that may come to mind when people think of the word "laxative."


2. Chuck the chewing gum. If one of your resolutions is to diet, you may be tempted to pop a piece of gum at the end of a meal to prevent yourself from overeating. But there may be a better way. If you're suffering from bloating and gas, chuck the gum, which can be a hidden culprit. Or, Dr. Yoshida suggests, combat extra winter padding by being active instead: "It's cold outside, but even a brisk walk around the mall several times a week can shed those pounds you gained over the holidays." Why not multitask and return holiday gifts at the same time?


3. Vanquish the vitamins. If you're experiencing problems with occasional constipation or diarrhea, it may be due to some vitamins and supplements. Multivitamins containing iron and calcium supplements can both cause constipation, and vitamin C - a popular choice in winter months - can cause diarrhea and gas. If you're regularly taking one or more of these supplements and suffering from digestive issues, try adding foods rich in these nutrients into your diet (like orange juice for vitamin C) instead.


For more suggestions on ways to help restore your regularity this new year, visit MiraLAX.com.

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