The Thanksgiving Holiday Meal. It always starts out with so much potential for food bliss but can leave many of us feeling digestive stress. We’ve put together a few digestive tips to help you during and after a large meal so that you can enjoy every aspect of your holiday gathering:
During your meal: Begin with bitter foods that stimulate the digestive process. Those raw veggies aren’t just sitting there making the holiday buffet more colorful! Bitter foods make for a smart appetizer (think: dandelion greens, green olives, sesame seeds, radishes and other raw vegetables) which begins to stimulate gastric acid secretion. Adding in sour foods with digestive enzymes, like raw apple cider vinegar with a few ounces of water, can also help increase gastric acid so that you can better break down your food during a large holiday meal.
Ginger: Ginger makes digestion easier and can help soothe upset stomachs. By stimulating the digestive track, ginger triggers the release of digestive enzymes and can increase muscle contractions in the stomach to help food movement in the upper part of the small intestine.
Ginger makes for a great, flavorful ingredient that adds a spicy warmth and zing to holiday dishes. If you can’t cook with it, stock up on some ginger chews or ginger tea to share after dinner with dessert.
Water: Your body needs water to function at its best. Water helps the digestive system and helps the body move out waste products. If you are drinking alcohol during your holiday meal, make sure to include a glass for water.
Exercise: While exercise might not be the first thing that comes to mind during a holiday meal, try to do something that keeps you moving. Regular exercise is helpful to keep foods moving through your digestive system. During holiday festivities, it’s not like you have to stop what you’re doing and head to the gym. Start a new (healthy) tradition like going for a walk to spot the newest holiday lights, play some catch or ball with the family, or turn on some great music for a 10-second dance party!