Holiday season is upon us and that means more time spent with your family and around the table with delicious, tempting food. Whether it is Thanksgiving (for our US friends) or the Christmas holidays, there is certain to be plenty of food. Despite the numerous times you insist on eating healthy, there will be someone who insists you indulge. Maybe it’s an overenthusiastic grandparent who spent all day in the kitchen, or a young niece or nephew who asserts that he or she made a dish “all by myself” that leads you to reach for another plate. Regardless, it is almost a foregone conclusion that you will eat way too much this holiday season.
But there’s no reason to sulk about it! Often, the best way to solve the problem is not to avoid it, but face it head on. Health should always be about a compromise that makes you happy – the most effective diet tends not to be the one that cut out all harmful foods, but the one that preaches moderation that leads to gradual and sustainable change. The holiday season is a period of months that sees a dramatic increase of importance in supporting your body with the correct nutrients it needs to avoid upset stomach, heartburn, and other digestive problems.
Most of our holiday foods tend to be high in sugar and fat – all the while, these foods are low in fibers, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. When you think of your favorite holiday foods, your mind is drawn to fat-laden meats, baked goods, and other savory treats. These aren’t the healthiest options, but we usually indulge and enjoy the holidays.
Here are some tips to fight off indigestion:
1. Take prebiotic and probiotic supplements
If you find that constipation or diarrhea is a too-frequent, uncomfortable occurrence during your holidays, the first place to look at is the health of your gut. Prebiotics are unaffected by your stomach and essentially become fuel for the beneficial bacteria that live inside your intestines. Prebiotic food and supplements work with probiotics to maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. It is important to note that this combination isn’t like an antacid – it’s not an immediate solution to one of your body’s digestive problems like unwanted gas or problems going to the washroom. Prebiotics and different strains of probiotic supplements are involved in the long-term health of your gut, and is especially important when indigestion is amplified by the overconsumption of rich foods that makes your intestines work overtime.
2. Lower fat, Less heartburn
As a general rule, fatty foods are the driving cause behind indigestion. Foods like nuts, avocados and cheese may seem very healthy, as they are high in protein, but they are also high in fat content. Fatty foods generally entice your stomach to relax, which slows down the digestive process. Large meals only compound the issue, as your stomach fills and puts pressure on the esophageal sphincter muscle that connects your throat and stomach. This allows stomach acid to travel up your esophagus to contribute to the feeling we know as heartburn.
3. Eating healthy the day after
The morning after a large meal isn’t the most pleasant feeling and you can physically feel your body screaming for nutrition. Facilitate the detoxification and cleaning process by eliminating toxins with a healthy smoothie. Huge dinners aren’t the place to pick and choose to make sure you have all the vitamins and minerals you need, but that’s why we have superfood powders like Organika Greens+ to help us.
4. Antacids to soothe the tummy
Maybe that last slice of pie wasn’t the greatest idea. Or that eggnog you had after dinner. Or those chocolate biscuits you had after. Now you are splayed across the couch in an attempt to quell your grumbling stomach. Dyspepsia is a group of symptoms that include belly pain, bloating, nausea, the feeling of uncomfortable fullness, heartburn, and burping. First off, lying down doesn’t help manage the symptoms, instead quick relief can be found by taking antacids that work to neutralize the acids in your stomach and stop heartburn.
5. Pick and choose your poisons
Everyone has their unhealthy favorites and an easy way to experience indigestion this holiday season is giving in to all your cravings. The most obvious items to cause heartburn are citrus fruits and other items high in acidic qualities, like tomatoes. Chocolate, mint, coffee, and alcohol are items to avoid after dinner, as they relax the esophageal sphincter muscle. Some people find that spicy food can trigger heartburn; however, there are some people that find spicy food calms their chronic heartburn.
6. Drink lots of water
One way to affect your appetite is to suppress the hormone ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating peptide secreted by the stomach. Ghrelin also influences the metabolism of fat tissue by promoting fat storage. One way to suppress this hormone is to drink an ample amount of water. Not only is water good for normal bowel function, but just one glass of water is a healthy way to cut down on portion sizes you will eat at dinner by reducing your portion sizes by 8 ounces. Instead of just drinking plain water – try convenient alkaline water!
It’s not fun to restrict your diet around the holidays, so these healthy and natural methods to help with indigestion should help you enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season.