There are some simple and very effective things you can do to enhance your digestion to help avoid the Christmas bloat. Of course there are the obvious things such as not eating too much, or drinking too much, but hey – lets be realistic and acknowledge that most of us, at some stage over the next month will indulge and fill our bellies up a little more than what we are used to.. To help avoid that groggy, foggy bloated feeling, try the following:
1. Have a shot of apple cider vinegar before, or with every meal. I personally have 2 – 3 shots of it every day to enhance my digestion (and skin health), but if you are someone who suffers from digestive discomfort – I’d highly recommend a shot before meals, or a shot, watered down in some water to be drunk with meals. My fav? Fire Tonic – a herbal powerhouse infused in apple cider vinegar – you’ll find this now at Saltuary 😉
2. Eating ‘bitter’ salads BEFORE your meals. We all have ‘bitter’ receptors throughout our entire gut. Bitter receptors effectively switch ‘on’ in the presence of bitter foods and drinks such as radicchio, watercress, rocket or apple cider vinegar etc. Ingesting these before meals is very beneficial. When the bitters reach the receptors placed throughout your gut, they effectively ‘switch on’ digestion! To take this to a whole other level – you can pour a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar onto the bitter salad leaves, as a dressing, and say “HELLO DIGESTION!” 🙂
3. Enjoy a cup of green, ginger, chamomile or mint tea (peppermint or spearmint) with meals. Optimal time to have this is approx 15 – 30 mins prior to your meals. If you feel you need it, then a cuppa afterwards is fine too. These herbal teas help to aid digestion and are best enjoyed luke warm. Just as a bit of history, after dinner mints were once upon a time exactly that – mints to be enjoyed after dinner to help with digestion. ‘Pure’ mint was used to make these, and because of that, they were a digestive aid. These days, most after dinner mints are made with synthetic mint, and are wrapped up in dairy based, sugary chocolate, which will only add to your digestive discomfort.
4. Enjoy some fermented vegies with dinner. Foods like sauerkraut, and drinks like kefir and kombucha are rich in beneficial (good) bacteria to aid digestion. They are generally very easy to make yourself. A quick google search on ‘how to make fermented vegies’ will bring up loads of info for you. If you are not keen on doing that, we stock handmade ones that are potent sources of the bacteria. You can buy sauerkraut off the supermarket shelf, where it’s usually sitting in a tin on the shelf. These arent considered ‘live foods’ meaning there wont be as much digestion-enhancing goodness in them compared to a hand made version – keep that in mind, especially so if you’re needing to optimise your digestion.
5. CHEW! I may be stating the obvious here, but seriously folks – chewing (well) is one of THE most beneficial things you can do to aid digestion. Most people inhale their food without a single though to how many times they chew. When we chew, it tells our brain that we are eating, and this begins the process of digestion – it is step one of our digestive process! Chewing creates more saliva, and saliva effectively marks our food as either a protein, carb, or fat, so that when it reaches the stomach, everyone there knows what to do with it! For example, the enzymes that digest proteins immediately spot the protein and start tearing it apart; the enzymes responsible for fats immediately recognise what the fats are and get to work on them and so on.. If you inhale your food, it jumps straight to step 2 of digestion, missing the critical step 1.. and then every step downstream suffers. If you inhale your food – say ‘HELLO BLOATING, DISCOMFORT, WIND” etc.. 🙁