By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC
Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges during the holiday season is the discomfort you feel after eating too much! Fortunately, there are safe and natural ways to prevent and treat the attack of digestive discomforts whether it be bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, flatulence, or associated abdominal pain.
- Chew Your Food
This recommendation cannot be emphasized enough. Try chewing every bite at least 15 times. Chances are you will enjoy your meal more; you will be less likely to overeat; and you will better digest your food. In fact, there is an enzyme in your saliva, amylase, which is essential for making your food digestible. You need to chew your food many times for the saliva to coat your food enough for amylase to travel through your digestive tract to help break down your food.
- Prioritize Daily Aerobic Exercise
Regular exercise helps food move through your digestive system, reducing constipation. And exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is also good for your digestive health. Make it a point to work some aerobic exercise (even if it is a 15-minute walk) into your daily life.
- Try Some Soothing Herbs
Herbs like slippery elm and ginger have been used for centuries to help soothe digestive discomfort. Sip ginger tea after your holiday meals. Ginger is also very helpful at
- Take a Probiotic Daily
Much of the food we consume (as well as medications like antibiotics) rids the healthy flora in our intestinal tract; this flora is needed for digestion. Fortunately, by taking a probiotic daily, we can make sure that there is beneficial flora alive and well in our intestines to aid digestion.
- Supplement with Enzymes
Raw plants and whole foods have natural enzymes that help us digest the food. However, cooking destroys many of the natural enzymes making it difficult to digest the food. Almost everyone can benefit from taking a supplemental enzyme formula before meals to help aid digestion. Enzymes are also good for people who have digestive difficulties due to food sensitivities (such as dairy and gluten).
- Try Aloe
Aloe vera gel has natural healing properties due to the large variety of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it contains. Aloe vera supplements work to cleanse the digestive tract of clogging food residue.
- Take a Spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
Apple cider vinegar can help stimulate hydrochloric acid (HCI), which is a huge player in breaking down your foods. If you don’t produce enough HCl, you can be classified as having an “underactive stomach.” Symptoms of an underactive stomach can include excessive gas and belching after meals, as well as an “overfull” feeling, abdominal pain, and cramping.
- Try a Cleanse
Colon and liver cleansing through the use of herbs, food, and supplements benefits the whole digestive system by removing toxins that otherwise slow digestion. Schedule a free appointment with one of our wellness educators (call 315-671-5172) to learn about foods to consume during your cleanse.
- Supplement with Magnesium for Constipation
Magnesium is a great supplement to take if you are battling with constipation. Take it every night before bed; it’s a relaxant; therefore, many people find that it helps them to sleep better too.
- Address Stress with B-Complex
Too much stress and anxiety can cause your digestive system to go into overdrive and is known to be connected with digestion problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Taking a B-complex daily may help reduce your stress levels.