Are you feeling like a stuffed turkey after over-doing it during the holidays? We get it, it’s hard to say no to that second serving of Winter’s turkey and Community Naturals pumpkin pie. But if you are feeling a little bloated and sluggish, we have some simple tips to get your digestion back on track.
Ways to get your digestion back on track:
- Eat mindfully
- Digestive bitters
- Castor oil pack
- Lemon juice/apple cider vinegar in water
- Herbal tea, like peppermint or ginger
- Digestive enzymes
- Take a walk
Chanone, one of our Wellness Experts at our Crowfoot Market suggests we “be mindful when eating and start with smaller portions on your plate. That way you don't overfill and overeat. You can always go up for seconds if you’re still hungry.” When you eat slower, you’re mindful of how full you actually are. Digestion starts with saliva, meaning your secrete digestive enzymes to break down food as soon as you start salivating, so take your time, enjoy the smells and sights of your food and eat it slowly to enjoy the taste. Watch Liam's video about eating mindfully to learn more.
Digestive bitters are herbs that have a predominantly bitter taste and are used to stimulate our appetite and the flow of digestive juices, and aid the liver in its work of detoxification and the flow of bile. As Martina, one of our Wellness Experts at our Chinook Market, states “they not only help to digest, but they also help to strengthen the digestive system. As bonus, they have a very pleasant taste and the whole family can use them.” Bitters can be used in many ways. You can add them to water and drink before consuming a meal. You can add to juice or a smoothie and sip throughout the day. In addition to aiding digestion, some bitters combination have additional benefits. For example, milk thistle or dandelion assist your liver health, while wormwood is beneficial for digestion and is said to improve memory and decrease muscle pain. You can customize your bitters by making your own! Try making your own with this recipe. If the DIY bitter isn’t your thing, Community Natural Foods has plenty of bitters to chose from - Marina’s recommendation is Salus Gallaxier Herbal Bitters.
Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been long known for stimulating the intestines and was once used to induce labour in pregnant women. We don’t recommend you consume castor oil orally, but we do LOVE castor oil packs that are applied topically! Castor oil is super powerful in stimulating blood flow and relaxing muscles, which makes it great for constipation. To use a castor oil pack, apply a layer of oil to your abdominal area in an upside U shape, starting from the bottom right by your hipbone. This is in the direction of your large intestine. Place an old piece of flannel on top and then a heat pad. Castor oil does stain clothing so be sure you aren’t wearing clothes you like. Relax with the pack on for 45 minutes and you should feel a difference the next day! You can increase the benefits by adding a few drops of lemon, peppermint or ginger essential oil to the flannel before applying it to your stomach.
Lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar to water
In order to break down food properly, your stomach needs acid. If you aren’t eating well chances are you actually have too little stomach acid. Without enough stomach acid, your body doesn’t break down food and can lead to constipation and nutrient deficiencies. While your body secretes stomach acid on its own, if it’s too low, there are ways to help. You can boost it by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water first thing in the morning. This will wake up your digestive system and kick start your stomach to tackle the day (and your food!)
Peppermint or Ginger Tea
Peppermint is known to have soothing properties, so it’s a great follow-up to a big meal, when you may be feeling bloated and have some indigestion. Ginger tea on the other hand has gingerol in it which helps reduce nausea and inflammation. Ginger can also stimulate peristalsis which is the movement of your intestines that moves poop along the large intestine to the colon. If tea isn’t your thing, you can also get peppermint or ginger supplements.
Digestive Enzymes are designed to help you break down foods into itty bitty enzymes that are then absorbed into your body. When foods aren’t broken down, the nutrients aren’t absorbed properly which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and leaky gut. Different enzymes break down different foods – proteins, fats, sugars, etc. Anne, one of our Wellness Experts at our Chinook Market, suggests using Now Super Enzymes to assist with breaking down food as this product is a full spectrum digestive enzyme and is especially good for those on high fat or Keto diet to assist with fat breakdown. There are also natural sources of digestive enzymes. Pineapple, for example has bromelain in it which is an enzyme that helps break down proteins. Papain is another enzyme found in, you guessed it – papaya! Adding enzyme-rich foods like these to your regular diet, will help reduce your need for enzyme support.