By Dr. Tanvi Tijoriwala, Naturopathic Doctor
Lights, eggnog and family. December is all about connecting with the people you love over food and giving back to the community. But for many, the holiday season comes with anxiety around having to eat foods they are sensitive to. Even for some with no food sensitivities, indulging in “heavy” meals over the holidays can negatively impact their digestive system. Many individuals experience symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, gas and belching with overindulgence in processed foods, dairy, gluten and sugar. Whether you have a sensitivity towards these foods or not, having a robust plan of action to prevent digestive discomfort is always a good idea. Here are four supplements that can help with digestive concerns associated with the holidays.
1. Digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes can play a vital role in managing symptoms associated with poor digestion since they help in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. These are ingredients commonly found in most foods.
2. Peppermint tea: Peppermint is a herb that can help with both stomach pains and gas. The herb contains L-menthol which reduces spasms in the digestive tract. It also helps relax the muscles of the lower-esophageal sphincter which can help relieve gas from the stomach. Peppermint is not recommended for individuals who experience acid reflux.
3. Bitter foods: While there are several supplements that contain herbs that have a bitter action, cooking with bitter foods can also aid gastrointestinal health. Bitter foods promote digestive action and can help with symptoms like bloating, gas and digestive discomfort. Adding foods such as ginger, aniseed, fennel, artichoke and peppermint is a good way to prevent holiday bloat.
4. Probiotics: Our gut contains good bacteria which help in digesting foods and absorbing nutrients. Various foods and medications can sometimes cause the good bacteria to be replaced by undesirable bacteria, thus weakening our digestion. Having a good strong microbiome is important in preventing and treating digestive symptoms. Research shows probiotic supplements can help with bloating, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
Although supplements are widely accessible it is always best to consult your naturopathic doctor before starting a new supplement to make sure you are getting the right treatment.
To get a customized health plan for your digestive concerns (IBS, acid reflux & constipation) you can book an appointment with our naturopathic doctor here.
Enjoy your holidays!