Feast with ease: natural digestion remedies

This article was originally published in November 2012

The downside to all those delicious holiday feasts? Upset tummies, heartburn and other side effects from one too many helpings of mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other rich foods. We asked our wellness experts to share their top tips to prevent and tame tummy trouble, at Thanksgiving or any day of the year.

Encourage healthy bacteria

One key to feeling great: Maintain a healthy level of beneficial intestinal bacteria, which assist with normal digestion and help boost your immune system. If you’ve recently battled an illness with antibiotics, be sure to replenish your body’s supply of good bacteria: Take a probiotic supplement, regularly drink kombucha or kefir, or enjoy fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut or kimchi.

Bitter before sweet

Cultures around the globe have brewed and sipped bitters for centuries to ease bloating and encourage good digestion. PCC carries organic herbal bitters from Urban Moonshine to take as a tonic pre- or post-meal.

“(Bitters) stimulate the saliva, which in turn stimulates all the (digestive) enzymes,” says Roxanne Green, health and body care coordinator at Redmond PCC.

You also can eat your bitters (and many cultures do). We suggest you start your meal with bitter greens such as a fresh kale salad, or savor a cocktail crafted with herbal bitters. Either will set your digestive tract in motion.

Traditional soothers

If you’re already groaning, turn to traditional remedies. Manuka honey, revered for its immune-boosting properties, also turns out to be a sound remedy for stomach upset and heartburn by boosting flora levels and restoring the stomach’s acid balance.

Raw apple cider vinegar is another traditional option. For frequent/recurring heartburn, try a “cocktail” of 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and a splash of fresh lemon juice mixed into 4 to 6 ounces of water. Take two to three times daily for several days to ease symptoms. Ginger tea also is a fragrant, soothing choice to ease stomach upset.

Digestive health products

Find these remedies in our health and body care section, recommended by Roxanne Green, health and body care coordinator at Redmond PCC.

Manuka Honey

This honey from the nectar of the manuka tree is abundant with medicinals. Green recommends a spoonful to treat indigestion.

Urban Moonshine Bitters Spray

Bitter flavors (including kale and the bitters you enjoy in your cocktail) stimulate the digestive system to help ease discomfort.

Inner-Eco Dairy-free Probiotic Kefir

This living food is made with freshly harvested coconut water from young green coconuts. It offers a high concentration of probiotics and also tastes really good, says Green.

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