Poor digestion can really drag us down, particularly during the holidays. It makes us feel sluggish, tired and bloated which can then cause us to be less focused and to feel less jolly and more like the grinch. But never fear, there are many foods that help to boost our digestion and keep us ready to join in the festivities. We’ve gathered five of these wonderful foods and their health benefits for you below.
This magical root helps to aid in digestion by speeding up the process of moving food from the stomach into the small intestine. It’s also a popular remedy for stomach aches and nausea and is used in many Asian dishes. Ginger can be consumed in a variety of ways and is a perfect addition to your holiday dishes! It’s most commonly used as a tea, in smoothies and pressed juices and can be added to quinoa and rice dishes for added spice.
Peppermint can help to ease indigestion as well as the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Studies have shown that those who took peppermint oil over the course of 4 weeks showed a significant drop in IBS symptoms. This is believed to be caused by peppermints antispasmodic properties which help to relax the bowels. Peppermint oil can be added to food dishes or tea for a delicious minty taste that will keep you feeling festive through out holiday season!
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy Greens are like the powerhouse of healthy digestion foods. Not only are they a wonderful source of fiber but they are also rich in nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin C and folate. Even more amazing is that research shows these veggies contain a specific type of sugar that promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Kale, Spinach and Collard Greens are all delicious options that can be incorporated into your holiday cooking. The darker the greens the better they are for your gut!
Bananas are a wonderful addition to the list of foods that help to promote healthy digestion. As sweet as they are, bananas are a low fructose fruit and contain lots of fiber. They also contain inulin which stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut and is considered a prebiotic. Bananas can be eaten as is, added to a fruit salad or used as a base for your favorite protein shake or smoothie. A favorite holiday smoothie of mine is to slice and freeze bananas overnight, then throw them in a blender with plant-based chocolate protein powder, coconut milk and a teaspoon of cinnamon and/or nutmeg! Keep in mind, when selecting bananas to always choose ripe fruit as those that haven’t ripened yet can have adverse effects on your digestion.
These little but mighty foods are a great source of fiber which is crucial for healthy digestion. Guidelines suggest women consume 25 grams of fiber per day and a single serving of beans can provide up to 19 grams of fiber per cup. Beans, peas, and lentils all fall under this category, giving you a wide variety to choose from. Dishes that include a healthy serving of beans include hummus, healthy veggie chilis and soups with light broths, all of which work beautifully with any holiday menu!
By incorporating these foods into your diet, you’ll have a happier and healthier gut. And a smoothly functioning digestion system will keep you energized and looking your best as you celebrate the holidays with friends and family. So go ahead and dig in!
About the Author:
Brooke Kathleen – Also known as the Unicorn Yogi, Brooke began practicing yoga in 2009. She moved to New York City for work in 2013 and her practice faded out due to the inconsistent hours. In 2017 she re-discovered her practice during a very intense and difficult series of events. After devoting herself to practice for another year she realized that she wanted to learn how to share the tools that yoga had given her to heal and grow with others. She found Vikasa online while researching and fell in love with the curriculum and location. The rest is history!
New York, USA