Ahh the holidays…a time when we typically lose track of healthy habits, i.e. crazier schedules, parties with more unhealthy foods, late nights, alcohol and high stress (both positive and negative). Being out of our normal routines can cause many things including stress, a greater tendency for our immune system to break down and sometimes…tummy trouble!
If you find yourself engaging in foods that are processed, sugary and chemically laden on a daily basis over the holidays you may experience digestive issues. Here are a 10 remedies to help reduce gas and bloating:
- Take a probiotic regularly and eat fermented foods. Intestinal dysbiosis (lacking the right bacteria in your gut) is one of the causes of bloating and gas as well as a main cause for many autoimmune diseases. Make sure to take a good quality probiotic recommended by your healthcare professional. Eating fermented foods is another great easy way to keep our intestinal flora balanced. You will find fermented veggies in glass jars in the fridge at your health food store .They have to be raw and not pasteurized. Don’t get conventional sauerkraut if you see “pasteurized” on the bag. Pasteurization destroys the good bacteria in this food. Start using this amazing healing food by adding one tablespoon a day with your lunch or dinner.
- Take digestive enzymes. These improve food breakdown speeding up and facilitating good digestion and absorption. This way the food spends less time in the gut therefore reducing the possibility of fermentation.
- Don’t skip meals!
- Eat your fruit first, or on its own. Enjoy your favorite fruit before a meal especially if that meal has animal protein in it. Fruits are made of simple sugars which are digested very easily and fast as opposed to complex sugars from whole foods and proteins. If we eat protein first and then fruit, the fruit will be “stuck behind” the proteins that take longer to digest and will start fermenting in your gut. This fermentation process causes gas and bloating.
- Eliminate dairy, processed foods and grains. These foods are inflammatory for most humans.
- Use activated charcoal before a heavy meal. This is good if you know you will be eating out or at a party. Charcoal will bind to toxins in your gut and improve their elimination. Don’t use every day as it is shown that every day use can cause magnesium deficiency.
- Don’t eat when upset or angry. In these situation stress hormones are released as the body is under stress. These hormones are designed for “fight or flight” response and shut down digestion. If food is introduced in the gut at this time the appropriate digestive processes are not activated therefore you will end up with an indigestion, gas and bloating.
- Don’t eat while working, watching TV or when being on your phone. We know that appropriate digestive enzymes are released when our brain is just thinking about food and our eyes and nose are watching/smelling food. If we are not mindful at the time we eat and we distract our brain with other tasks, these processes are delayed or arrested which will result in indigestion.
- Chew! Digestion starts in the mouth. By chewing our food into small pieces we expose it to the digestive enzymes and stomach acid to be further processed. The smaller the pieces, the better the digestion. Take your time and chew your food at least 30 times before you swallow!
- If you are experiencing bloating here are some techniques to use for relief: drink peppermint tea, ginger tea, or fennel tea. Lay on you back with your knees bent for 5-10 minutes. Use a warm compress on your lower abdomen if available.