With the holidays approaching, we are sharing some tips for reducing bloating and indigestion. So, if you find yourself eating more sugar, processed foods, alcohol, and food in general over the holidays, this can help!
Here are some ways you can support yourself before and during meals to improve your digestion, and then after your meal if you find you’re more bloated than usual.
If you know you have a big meal coming up or are eating food that maybe isn’t part of your regular diet (i.e. more sugar, more bread, cheese, etc.), there are a few steps you can take to “prime” your digestive system about 15 minutes before your meal, to be better able to digest your food. Essentially, you’re stimulating your stomach to produce enough stomach acid (important for all of your digestive processes).
Here are some steps you can take, from the lightest to the strongest. I would choose one of these, not all at once:
*This is not medical advice. Please consult with your practitioner before incorporating new supplements.
The fiber found in vegetables is a great way to keep your digestion on track. Sugar, grains, and processed foods can be constipating, but veggies can help keep things moving. Dark leafy greens are a great source of fiber, as well as artichokes, which contain the prebiotic inulin. A review of research on inulin and constipation found that inulin increases stool frequency, improves consistency and decreases gut transit time (aka the speediness of your digestion). Bitter leafy greens also support digestion by promoting the release of bile, stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
An easy way to do this through the holidays is a smoothie with a few handfuls of greens each day!
The process of digestion starts with the sight and smell of food and the act of chewing. Chewing helps to break up your food to prep it for the rest of your digestive system to break down further. Saliva contains the enzyme, salivary amylase, which starts to break down carbohydrates. If you skip this important step, you’re making more work for the rest of your digestive system.
Part of digestion is actually mental and your digestion is slowed when you’re stressed or when you eat in a rush. While this isn’t always convenient, the great thing about the holidays is that they’re often a time to slow down, unplug, and really enjoy your meals with your loved ones. If you feel a bit stressed going into dinner, take some deep breaths, which can help lower your cortisol levels.
If you ended up overeating or feeling more bloated than usual, firstly, don’t worry about it and be kind to yourself! It happens and hey, it was probably a really delicious meal!
Some things you can do to reduce bloating following a meal: