Thanksgiving, a time for watching football and feasting with family and friends. Unfortunately the feasting part while very delicious can contribute to bloating, distention, and lethargy. Like football, supporting healthy digestion requires a good defense and a good offense.
- Do not overeat: We all know that overeating can contribute to weight gain but did you know that it can change our biological clock? Studies on mice have found that overeating can cause them to wake up at night to eat. Physiologically speaking overeating causes the pancreas to produce more insulin to metabolize the excess sugar, however very often it does its job too well by causing low blood sugar (fatigue, nausea, dizziness, depression) which causes you to eat more carbs, thus creating a vicious cycle. Be mindful of what you eat by completely chewing and savoring your food. Also aim to eat until you are 80% full.
- Beware of FODMAPS: These are short chain sugars and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine which can be responsible for bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. Using this handout from Stanford University, focus on eating foods that are low in FODMAPS and avoid or eat very sparingly those that are not.
- Stoke the fire: Drinking a digestive tea after a meal can sooth digestion and relieve bloating. Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Teas have very good digestive teas.
- Be active: Going for a 15-20 minute walk after your meal can stimulate your digestion and reduce the chance of overindulging at dessert time.