Tips to Aid Digestion Through the Holidays

Dec 13, 2022

We all tend to over indulge this time of year, which is ok, but it can also lead to some unwanted digestive disturbances such as bloating, gas, indigestion, and a change in bowel habits. 

Learn how to mitigate or avoid some of those disturbances with some easy and effective tips below.

Eat Mindfully

We’ve all heard the saying “digestion begins in the mouth” (which is true) but have you heard of the Japanese phrase “Hara hachi bu”? It means to eat until you're 80% full. This mindful practice is helpful because it teaches you to stop eating when you feel slightly full. Along with chewing your food and eating slowly, just simply being aware of eating until your satisfied will help prevent you from over-indulging this holiday season.

Add Apple Cider Vinegar to water

Try adding a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water, 20 minutes before you eat. This will help increase stomach acid which supports digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Perfect for those heavier meals around the holidays. If you can't handle the taste of ACV, taking it in a supplement form is a great alternative choice.

Digestive Bitters

Digestive bitters are herbs that have a predominantly bitter taste. They are used to stimulate our appetite and the flow of digestive juices, aid the liver in its work of detoxification, and stimulate 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.

Natural Antacid

When other digestion tips don’t work or you simply can't avoid some trigger foods, a natural antacid like DGL or Mastic Gum can help with acid reflux. This can also be useful for those nighttime acid reflux episodes, especially if it is affecting the quality of your sleep.

Peppermint or Ginger

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 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. Try both in supplement and/or tea form.

Increase Fiber

With the increase of sweets and snacks over the holidays, it can be a challenge to reach your recommended daily amount of fiber. Heck, it can be a challenge every day to get enough in your diet! Try eating more vegetables and other high fiber foods throughout the day so you can indulge, moderately, in the evening - it's harder to get more in as the day goes on. In saying that, sometimes you just can't get enough fiber from food around this time of year. A powder fiber supplement can be a great addition to smoothies, cereals, etc. and a lot of brands have flavorless, soluble options. Why is fiber important? Not only does it keep your bowels moving, but it provides food (known as prebiotics) for the healthy bacteria in your intestinal tract. It also helps balance blood sugar and reduce cravings for sugar. 

Probiotics

Things like sugar, high fat foods, alcohol, etc. can negatively affect our microbiome by causing inflammation, gut permeability and dysbiosis. With the increase of these foods over the holidays, our digestion can become sluggish or out of sorts which leads to all kinds of upset - No one enjoys gas around the dinner table! ;).  While probiotics are not a replacement for eating fiber rich foods, they may certainly help when our eating habits temporarily change. If you are not used to taking them, be sure to start with a lower CFU count. And they are best taken with food and fiber, of course! As we learnt above, fiber (prebiotics) help feed that healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. 

All information is for educational and Informational purposes only. Any nutrition, lifestyle and product recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting any new supplements, please check with your doctor or practitioner.

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