Hooray for ham and cookies — it’s the most delicious time of the year! Now you can enjoy all this holiday feast goodness without “morning after” stomach woes. Here are three easy ways to do so before your upcoming holiday feast.
Chew gum before dinner.
A sudden influx of food can create a bottleneck that triggers indigestion. The fix? Ten minutes before meals, chew sugarless gum, which can help you digest 25 percent faster, per European medical journal BJBMS. “Chewing gum activates enzymes and helpful acids that aid digestion,” says gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, MD, with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York. Tip: Choose mint gum. University of South Alabama research shows menthol cools the digestive system, reducing bloat by 40 percent.
Sip while you dine.
What blocks heartburn as well as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), but is totally free and has zero side effects? The answer is simple, according to European research published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences: sipping water with dinner! “Water during a meal helps lubricate the food we ingest, especially when eating rapidly,” explains Dr. Sonpal. “As water and food enter the stomach at once, this adds volume and expansion of the stomach walls, stimulating the release of digestive juices.” What’s more, Dr. Sonpal credits water with normalizing the stomach’s pH after an acidic meal. Sip with dinner to best dilute stomach acid.
Prop up your feet.
If you’re having trouble going, place your feet on a low stool in front of the toilet. The trick gets things moving for 90 percent of backed up people, according to a new Ohio State University study. Why? Dr. Sonpal explains, “Raising the feet mimics squatting, a position that helps the body complete bowel movements.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.