We’re all prone to a little overindulgence at Christmas, and all that rich rood and overeating plays havoc with our digestion leaving us bloated, uncomfortable and suffering from indigestion. Chinese Medicine sees our digestive health as particularly important, determining our vitality, mood, immunity, and more. Here are some tips to try and minimise the stress we put on our poor stomachs during the party season.
Chew your food: Chewing food properly releases digestive enzymes into the saliva to break down carbohydrates. Undigested carbohydrates cause bloating, so chewing more can prevent distended bellies. Also, really chewing and tasting your food makes it more satisfying, meaning you may eat less.”
Drink warm liquids: The smooth muscle of your digestive system likes warmth. Ingesting cold will weaken your digestion whereas warm liquids will relax and strengthen it over time, reducing bloating. Drinking a glass of warm water first thing will get your digestive metabolism going for the day.
Drink Ginger Tea: Ginger is revered for its ability to soothe the digestive tract and bring gastric juices back into balance. It has been used for centuries to treat hangovers and overeating. Pour hot water over fresh ginger root and sip slowly both before you eat a big meal, and after festivities.
Move: if you’re feeling lethargic and bloated, movement is essential. The best cure is to get the family together and take a walk after the big meal. It doesn’t have to be for long, just enough movement to help stimulate digestion. Plopping down on the couch will slow down your system, and that stagnation causes the discomfort of bloating. Yoga can also be a great help as twisting postures aid in digestion.
Relax: Stress and anxiety can cause an upset stomach and the chaos and family stress of the Christmas period can lead to higher stress levels. Follow an evening of celebrating with some alone time to enjoy peace and quiet.
Rub your belly: In Chinese medicine, bloating and indigestion indicate that your digestive energy is obstructed, so self-massage can improve flow and regulate the digestive organs. Lie comfortably on your back, place your palm above your belly button and rub your abdomen in a circle around your belly button. Circle clockwise (as you look down at your belly) as this is the direction of your bowel.
Have acupuncture: If you find you have digestive problems year round, not just when overeating, acupuncture could help to strengthen your digestive system. Give me a call to find out more.
Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol