Top 7 Ways Beat Holiday Bloat

Posted on Dec 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

By Dr. Maoshing Ni – Posted on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, 3:56 pm PST

Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity

Healthy Digestion for a Long Life

“Oh, I ate too much!” Most of us have uttered these regretful words after one of our many holiday meals. The subsequent result is indigestion, which typically feels like a burning pain in the abdomen and is usually accompanied by bloating, gurgling, belching, and gas.

Indigestion is caused and made worse by overeating, especially rich, fatty, spicy foods, alcohol, coffee, and acidic foods. Eating on the run, when you’re under stress, or late at night also causes indigestion. Heartburn can accompany indigestion, as the excessive food and liquid in the stomach churns up stomach acid, which spills up into the esophagus and irritates its lining.

Consider this: of the ten top-selling drugs in the United States, three are specifically for indigestion and heartburn. That’s because we live in a culture marked by poor diet and digestion. Chinese medicine views proper digestion as the most essential component in living a long and healthy life.

Without healthy digestion, malnutrition may occur and toxins can build up in your body, causing rapid aging and degenerative diseases. This holiday season, put healthy habits in place to get your digestion on the right track.

1. Spice up your digestion

Balance out a festive meal by featuring fennel as a side ingredient. A common remedy to digestive distress in China is fennel, a crisp licorice-flavored bulb. Fennel helps digestion by stimulating the production of gastric juices and also soothing the nervous system, which regulates the action of the muscles that line the intestine.

Add raw fennel to salads, or use fennel seed as a spice in recipes with meat, beans, or legumes. The fronds attached to the bulb can be boiled to make an excellent tea. Other common cooking herbs and spices that support your digestive health include dill, oregano, basil, coriander, rosemary, bay, ginger, anise, and cardamom. Use them in your cooking or steep them as tea to drink after meals.

2. Ease your emotions

Chinese medicine recognizes that an emotional element can come into play because the liver is highly sensitive to mood and feelings, and a weak flow of liver energy may manifest as bloating or flatulence.

Between the traveling and spending time with family, the holidays can especially be a time when emotions and stress ride high. Dandelion has been shown to aid digestion by supporting the liver; drink dandelion tea to ease your emotions and digestion.

3. Don’t overdo

When you are eating your holiday meal, don’t get carried away by the conversations around you. Savor every bite and do not eat while stressed, angry, or preoccupied by distractions; all of these take the energy away from the digestive system and makes its job that much harder.

Also, chew each bite thoroughly — your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Be mindful of your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Your best bet is to leave the table only three-quarters full. That will leave you content and energized, perfect for conversing with your loved ones.

It is also an effective rule in maintaining a healthy weight. If weight management is equally your goal this holiday season, try B-Slim, a nutrient-rich dietary supplement designed to be part of a sensible overall weight management program.

4. Take a walk

Walking is a great way to help food move along the digestive tract, and for improving digestion and absorption. The energetic meridians of the digestive organs run along the large muscles of the legs.

Walking stimulates energy flow within the channels and promotes digestion. Take an easy 10-minute walk after each meal while massaging your abdomen with your palms, in a circle around your belly button.

5. Don’t take bloating lying down

While curling up for a nap may seem like the natural response to a filling meal, resist the urge. Lying down makes it easy for the acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. During a flare up, don’t lie flat on your back when you sleep; instead, prop up your head and upper body with pillows at a 45-degree angle.

6. Herbal action for indigestion

Many easily available herbs can prevent or relieve digestive problems. Peppermint helps increase healthy gastric secretions, relaxes the intestines, soothes spasms, settles the stomach, and alleviates gas. Ginger, has been shown to soothe the digestive lining and balance gastric juices. Chamomile is another excellent herb for settling the stomach. You can combine the three herbs, steep them as tea, and drink before or after mealtimes. Also look for Tao of Wellness teas for digestive support.

7. Remedies for digestive distress

For heartburns, dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 8 oz cup of warm water and sip for immediate relief of acid reflux.

Apple cider vinegar is a traditional remedy to cure various digestive disorders. Taken internally, it supports liver detoxification, normalizes digestive juices, and reduces intestinal bloating. Mix 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with 12 ounces of warm water, and drink in the morning on empty stomach. Add a little honey if the taste is too strong.

I hope this article helps you soothe digestive distress! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

–Dr. Mao

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