The hustle of holiday season can easily cause a shift in our normal eating routines. It’s not uncommon to find ourselves eating on the go, rushing through meals and over indulging at parties. Even when we do sit down to eat, our attention is likely else where. Stay focused on these digestion fundamentals in order to make sure we absorb not only our nutrients, but the moment as well.
1). Take a big breath before meals
This small, mindful step can actually help the body to shift from operating from its sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” mode) to its parasympathetic state (“rest & digest”). Take at least one deep, complete inhalation and exhalation before picking up your fork.
2). Avoid drinking too much liquid right before, or during meals
Too much liquid at meal times can dilute digestive enzymes produced in the stomach. This can increase the likelihood of indigestion, and uncomfortable signals from the body such as heartburn, gas or bloating. Save drinking a full drink for at least 20-30 minutes before or after meal times, and instead focus on taking small sips through the meal as needed.
3). Chew thoroughly
The first stage in digestion actually begins in your mouth! By chewing, saliva production is activated. Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, particularly beneficial in carbohydrate digestion. Tip: put your utensils down between each bite, creating less urgency to finish your bite quickly, so you can stay focused on chewing properly. Nutritionists suggest to count 20 chews per bite of food.
4). Portion control
Especially at potlucks and buffet style meals, it can be easy to load up on every food that catches our attention. Be aware of this inclination, and err on the conservative side for your first course. You can always go back for more! Consuming more food than our body can produce enzymes to digest can create symptoms of indigestion. Remember: it takes around 20 minutes to digest and signal satiation. Slow down your pace of eating, and practice portion control in order to stay in tune with satisfaction signals.
5). Supplement with digestive enzymes when needed
If you’ve tried all the above strategies, it might be time to add in the support of a plant based digestive enzyme complex. Taken prior to meals, a digestive enzyme can support efficient digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and allow you to digest with greater ease. Sometimes a helping hand is what we need this time of year. NuZymes from Dr. Newton’s Naturals helps your body absorb nutrients from the food we eat more effectively and provides 6 key enzymes to help break down those proteins, sugars, fats and carbohydrates that are so prevalent in the delicious holiday foods we love so much.