How changes in season can affect digestion

Woman cross-country ski

Have you ever felt like your digestion fluctuates based on the seasons? 

Some of my clients report feeling better in the summer compared to the winter, or vice versa. If you can relate, know there are many legitimate reasons why this could be the case. The following are some of the most common factors that change between seasons and can affect your digestion:


Summer makes it easy to remember to hydrate when we’re running around outside, sweating, and feeling thirsty. But when colder weather hits, we may feel less thirsty, and it can be harder to make sure we’re getting enough fluids. This of course can impact digestion, especially for those who struggle with constipation.

Different Cooking Methods

It’s unappealing to turn on the oven during summer, and people tend to opt for more raw foods. In the winter, on the other hand, we’re likely cooking far more of our meals. Eating more cooked versus raw foods is actually helpful for many, as raw foods can be irritating and hard to break down in a gut that is already inflamed.

Richness of Foods

During the dog days of summer, the thought of a creamy casserole is probably the last thing that sounds good. Instead, it’s all about the fresh fruit, vegetables, and lighter fare. Once autumn comes around, we start craving those warming, stick-to-your-bones foods that have more starch and fat in them. Some people’s systems do well with this switch, while others don’t.

Changes to Daily Movement

It’s very common for workout routines and daily movement to change from one season to another, especially if there are long chunks of time in winter where you can’t spend much time outside. A more sedentary lifestyle in winter can slow down digestion; however, for those hitting the cardio hard in summer, switching to more gentle movement in colder seasons can actually be beneficial!

Vitamin D Fluctuations

Most of our Vtiamin D comes from the sun, as there are very few food sources. If we’re not monitoring our Vitamin D in winter, it can easily drop to sub-optimal levels. Low Vitamin D is linked to more inflammation in the gut (and the body as a whole!) as well as a more imbalanced gut microbiome that favors the “bad” guys. 

Overall, our diet and lifestyle can change significantly from season to season, which can be reflected in our gut health. Do you notice that your digestion is different in summer versus the winter? If so, which season do you feel better?

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