The holiday season brings with it many discomforts: trying to get quality sleep in your childhood bed, dodging Aunt Edna’s never-ending attempts to set you up with the “darling neighbor girl,” enduring endless small talk with family members you’ve never met before, and that particular discomfort that comes from consuming more — and different — foods than those you normally eat. We can’t do much about Aunt Edna, but for minor digestive disruptions, we recommend supplementing with these products, which will help ease things through your system.
Digestive Enzymes Enzymes are proteins that assist with numerous functions in the body, including helping to break down food in your digestive system. They occur naturally in the body, but supplementing with them helps your body derive more nutrients from the food you eat, leaving less to go to waste — literally. Different enzymes work on different nutrients. Protease, peptidase, pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin and bromelain work on protein; lactase, amylase, glucoamylase, alpha galactosidase, cellulase and invertase work on carbs; and lipase and pancreatin work on fats. Look for a product that emphasizes the enzymes that help most with the foods you consume and take 250 to 500 milligrams daily.
Ginger Known scientifically as Zingiber officinale, this root has been used for centuries to improve digestion and relieve stomach issues like nausea, aches, digestive spasms and indigestion. Ginger is also a gastric expander, meaning that it helps increase the size of your stomach, allowing you to more comfortably accommodate larger portions. That’s important during the holidays, especially if you’re trying to feed muscle growth. For best results, take about 150 to 250 milligrams of ginger before big meals.
Probiotics Your digestive tract contains billions of bacteria that help you better digest the foods you consume. Similar to enzymes, these beneficial bacteria help break down food in your intestines so that it’s more readily absorbed. Taking a probiotic supplement can help you achieve the ideal balance of beneficial bacteria that’s critical for optimal digestion. In addition, it also can improve immune function and promote fat loss. For two weeks, take enough probiotics to get 10 billion colony-forming units daily, then go down to 1 to 2 billion CFUs daily for maintenance.