How to Improve Digestion Over the Holidays
Nov 07, 2021
The holiday season can be the most exciting, and most stressful, time of the year. It’s also known for being the most indulgent. Whether we recognize it or not, all those holiday gatherings, the extra baking, and opportunities for delicious holiday meals can sneak up on us! The combination of stress, overindulgence, holiday anxieties, and our busy schedules can have a negative impact on our digestive process.
This year, instead of loosening that belt another notch and resigning yourself to holiday weight gain, heartburn, or indigestion, learn how to improve digestion and stay feeling great. Today, we’re giving you tips for how to improve digestive health over the holidays.
How to Improve Digestion During the Holiday Season
Our digestive system requires a delicate balance to run as efficiently as possible. With the added stress, excitement, and hectic nature of the holidays, that balance can be thrown completely out of whack pretty easily. Stress slows down digestion which can lead to heartburn, indigestion, weight gain, constipation, and a host of other digestive ailments.
To help you avoid those unwanted situations this year, let’s take a look at these tips and techniques for how to improve digestion naturally at home over the holidays:
- Know your body and how it reacts to certain foods
- Don’t forget the fiber
- Practice mindful eating
- Learn to manage stress during the holidays
- Stay active and exercise regularly
How Does Food Affect Your Body?
First up on our list of tips for how to improve digestion naturally at home over the holidays is knowing how food affects your body. Certain foods can trigger digestive distress in anyone, so knowing how your body will react to certain foods is an easy way to avoid those that may have a negative impact.
In addition to knowing which foods don’t sit well on your stomach, it’s also important to know how food affects your body when you’re under added stress. Even if you’re having a wonderful time at parties and gatherings, the stress of added holiday functions to your normal routine can impact your digestive system and how it functions. If your stress levels are starting to cause stomach issues such as aches or distress, adjust your eating habits for the time being to accommodate your needs.
Part of how to improve digestive health is to know when your system needs a breather.
Eating Enough Fiber
Another simple method for how to improve digestion over the holidays is to ensure you’re eating enough fiber. Many holiday staples lack enough fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Add in the processed sugars from holiday sweets and it’s easy to see how you may not be getting the fiber you need.
To help with how to improve digestive health this holiday season, look towards fiber-rich dishes at holiday meals. Fruits and vegetables like squash, apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all high in fiber and can help regulate your digestive health. Instead of loading up on the sweets for snacks, consider opting for more fiber-rich snacks like almonds, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds (which are divine when roasted).
How to Improve Digestion With Mindful Eating Tips
Naturally, a lot of techniques for how to improve digestion over the holidays have to do with what you’re eating, but have you considered how you’re eating? Studies have shown that being distracted while eating is directly linked to overeating as our brains miss fullness signals from our bodies.
Mindful eating is the habit of being present in the moment while you eat. It doesn't mean you can’t enjoy a dinner conversation or taking in the events going on around you while you eat, more that you savor the moment and experience of eating. When we are distracted by our phones, watching television, or any other activities while eating, not only are we more likely to overeat but it may slow our digestive system down, too. A slower digestive system can lead to feeling bloated, causing cramps, and even missing out on some of the nutritional value of what we’re eating.
Managing Holiday Stress
Stress plays a major role in how to improve digestion. It not only slows down our ability to digest food, but can also cause us to miss out on some of its nutritional value similar to eating too quickly. Furthermore, when we’re stressed we are more likely to make less healthy food selections. Comfort food as a way to cope with holiday stress can lead to unwanted weight gain or other discomforts.
An easy way to start managing holiday stress as part of how to improve digestion is to make sure you’re taking time for self care. For example, you might practice meditation for at least a few minutes each day to center your mind and reduce stress levels.
Another great option for how to handle stress during the holidays that may help improve digestion is getting a massage. Not only are massages deeply relaxing, but they work for how to improve digestive health by stimulating the motion of the intestines.
For those unable to fit a massage therapist appointment into a hectic holiday schedule, you might consider the benefits of owning a massage chair at home. The evolution of massage chairs has eliminated the difference between using a massage chair vs human massage. You can enjoy the benefits of massage therapy at home on your schedule without having to add another errand to your list. Since today’s models are able to offer different types of massage, you’re sure to find a program that fits your needs from shiatsu massage to Thai massage and more.
Today’s luxury massage chairs may also have additional functions that improve your experience. Massage chair features like chromotherapy, zero gravity reclining capabilities, and even AI massage technology can provide you with an experience that reduces stress and help improve digestive health naturally. Some models may also offer the benefits of heat therapy which may help your stomach muscles relax and improve the function of your digestive system.
Exercise to Improve Digestive System Health
While it’s easy to get caught up in more sedentary activities during the holidays, taking time to stay active and exercise regularly is key for how to improve digestion. Instead of sitting back after a heavy meal, try taking a walk instead. Not only can physical exercise help with how to improve digestive health, but lying back in a chair right after eating is more likely to result in heartburn or indigestion.
Outside of meal times, sticking to your regular exercise routine during the holidays is an easy way to help your body stay on track, as well. Our bodies respond well to routine. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging a little during the holidays, sticking to your typical routine as much as possible can make a big difference in your digestive health.
We hope this guide has helped you recognize simple ways for how to improve digestion over the holidays. The fun, excitement, and stress that come with the holiday season don’t have to be at the expense of your digestive health. Taking time to be active, practicing mindful eating, choosing a massage chair to relax, and making healthy food choices all come together to keep you feeling your best. Try out these techniques and see the difference they make this year!
For more information on massage chairs and how they can enhance your lifestyle, check out these resources: