If you’re feeling regret from too many festive nogs and butter tarts downed over the holidays, you’re not alone. But there’s good news! Some simple fixes like mindful eating and natural digestive aids can help with bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion.
Try mindful eating
Being more attentive while we eat can serve many purposes aside from avoiding digestive discomfort. It can help us appreciate and enjoy our food more and slow us down so we can savor the full experience. There’s also the happy result of helping us find calm and reduce stress.
Eat before you’re ravenous
Don’t wait to eat until you’re starving, and try to avoid skipping meals; this makes it really hard to slow down and savor your food.
Drink water first
Drinking a tall glass of water before meals can help to minimize overeating; it’s also a great way to stay hydrated.
Chew with purpose
Mindfully chew, then swallow everything in your mouth before raising another forkful; this will slow you down and help cut down the amount you eat.
Stop before you’re full
Eat only enough to be nearly full; this can help your brain’s signals catch up with your stomach’s true extent of fullness.
Try digestive enzymes
If you struggle to digest typically gassy foods like beans or Brussels sprouts, digestive enzymes, found at health food stores, may be your best friends.
Naturally produced in our body, digestive enzymes help break down food in our stomach and intestines.
There are three main types:
- Amylase breaks down starches and carbohydrates into sugars.
- Protease breaks down proteins into amino acids.
- Lipase breaks down lipids (fats and oils) into glycerol and fatty acids.
Try these digestive helpers
There are plenty of other options that might help to tackle your tummy troubles.
You can find peppermint as a tea or as encapsulated oil. Some studies have shown success in using peppermint for relieving symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you’re someone who suffers from heartburn or acid reflux, though, be careful—that peppermint might worsen your symptoms.
Psyllium is a great source of soluble fiber that can be used to normalize irregular stools due to constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)
DGL, in chewable tablets or lozenges, can be soothing and supportive to the tissues of the stomach.
Stock up on probiotics
Friendly bacteria naturally living in our guts help with everything from boosting immunity to enabling digestion. Supplementing with probiotics can boost the live healthy bacteria count in our digestive systems.
Choose a good quality probiotic yogurt or pick up probiotics in supplement form. Benefits include reducing bloating and constipation, as well as easing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Get it checked
If your digestive woes can’t be easily managed with these tips, or if your symptoms have persisted for a long time, it might be time to see a health professional for a thorough check-up.