10 Things You Can Do If the Holidays Are Hard on Your Digestive System

Updated 12/16/18

It's the holiday season, which means you're probably surrounded by refined carbs, alcohol, and well-meaning family members asking you about your love life and you don't have the heart to tell them that dating in 2018 is a nightmare and you're never going to find someone because that's not very #festive. (Just me? Okay.) Seriously though, holiday bloat is real, and it's thanks to consuming more carbs, sugar, and alcohol than normal—which many of us are wont to do during the holidays.

Post-festivities, you may feel like you need a holiday reset. I asked the experts to share their best tips for getting back on track after the holiday season. Because while there's nothing wrong with indulging a little, remembering how good real cookies taste can make it difficult to go back to your normal healthy ways. Check out their tips below.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

Tips for working out
@thestudiomdr

Okay, so this one is a little preemptive, but you have to set yourself up for success. "Don't wait for the New Year; January 1 is just like any other day, so my best advice would be to start today. You got this!" Mary Miller, fitness trainer and instructor at The Studio (MDR), says. She recommends planning your workouts ahead of time and making a conscious effort to stick to them. Also, drink a lot of water. Like seriously. A lot of water.

"At The Studio (MDR), a favorite move of mine is the French twist, a full-body exercise targeting the obliques. There is a twisting motion throughout the exercise detoxing the organs as well as a built-in stretch as you release,” she adds.

Try a Digestive Enzyme

Hum Nutrition Flatter Me Digestive Enzyme
Hum Nutrition Flatter Me Digestive Enzyme $25
Shop

"We all know holidays can be stressful. While this can create some tension with family members and travel, it can also impact our digestion. Stress can decrease the [number] of enzymes your body is making, which in turn makes it hard to break down your food," says Sarah Greenfield, Hum Nutrition’s director of education and lead nutritionist. She recommends taking a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme, like the brand's Flatter Me, which will help your body break down protein, fat, carbs, and fiber. This can help decrease bloating and improve your digestion, even when you be stressed.

Take Selenium

Love Wellness Lean Queen
Love Wellness Lean Queen $19
Shop

Feeling sluggish after all those mashed potatoes? Try a supplement that contains selenium. Selenium has been shown to help support the thyroid, which in turn helps regulate your metabolism. 

Eat Enough Protein

Tone It Up Plant Based Protein Powder
Tone It Up Plant Based Protein Powder $24
Shop

Sara Kahn, MS, CNS, a board-certified nutritionist in New York City who specializes in digestive health, recommends upping your breakfast protein intake. "Most of my clients were eating carbohydrate-heavy breakfasts (bars, sugary smoothies, cereal, etc.) before we made changes. This left them hangry and bloated before lunch," she says. "Aim for 20 to 25 grams of high-quality protein for breakfast to keep blood sugar steady and help to reduce bloating from carb overload." Try organic eggs, turkey bacon, or a high-quality protein powder.

Eat Whole-Food Carbs

Red peppers
Andrew Scarborough on Unsplash

Replace the cookies (I know, terrible) with whole-food carbs like sweet potatoes and bell peppers, Kahn says, adding that these carbs are filled with nutrients your liver needs to detoxify. Plus, "whole-food carbs digest slowly to help keep blood sugar steady to reduce cravings for more carbs," she explains.

Eat More Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts
Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

Kahn also recommends eating more veggies in the brassica family—like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. She says that these contain nutrients that will help support your liver and help eliminate toxins.

Get Creative With Your Hydration

Thrive Market Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth
Thrive Market Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth $7
Shop

Being hydrated is one of the best things you can do to help your body detox from two solid months of processed carbs and abundant alcohol. But you don't have to just chug water to get the benefits. "Of course, water supports digestion and elimination, but this can be in the form of juicy fruits and vegetables, soups, broths, and decaffeinated herbal teas," Kahn says.

Start Taking Probiotics

The Beauty Chef Glow Advanced Inner Beauty Powder
The Beauty Chef Glow Advanced Inner Beauty Powder $70
Shop

If you haven't jumped on the probiotic bandwagon yet, there is no better time like the present. "Another great way to de-bloat is to take a daily probiotic; a healthy gut will improve digestion and therefore cause less bloating," Danielle Keith, holistic health coach tells us. Probiotics help your gut by increasing the number of good bacteria.

Get Rid of Stagnation

Kusmi Tea Be Cool
Kusmi Tea Be Cool $24
Shop

"If you're stressed out, your body's energy will not be moving, and one of the symptoms [is] bloating," says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. "Some of the best remedies for bloating, according to the principles of TCM, [are] ginger tea, peppermint tea, and radishes if you have stasis." Foods that cause stagnation are greasy foods, hydrogenated oils, red meat, dairy, processed flour, and packaged cookies and chips.

Opening Image: Nik MaxMillan for Unsplash

Related Stories