As the holidays roll around, many of us celebrate by toasting and breaking bread with family and friends. And while there is good news according to a recent Vanderbilt University study – we don’t actually gain the rumored average of 5 pounds over the holidays…it may be closer to only 1 pound – the bad news is that most of us will overindulge over the holidays and will be feeling those effects this month.
Overindulging in rich foods, larger portions and more alcohol seems to be a holiday tradition. This overindulgence can come with heartburn, indigestion and nausea. It can put stress on our heart and gall bladder. It can actually stretch our stomachs to a larger size. It can also cause even more stress than this busy time of year seems to impart. So, how is a holiday reveler to cope with and manage the holidays and still feel well and comfortable?
If you’re suffering from any of the effects of this overindulgence, relief seems to never come soon enough. In my experience, Oriental Medicine – including acupuncture and Chinese herbs – can be extremely effective in helping to calm your digestive system and provide overall stress relief. There are specific acupuncture points and herbs that can help quell nausea, reduce gassiness and bloating and tame the symptoms of reflux. Additionally, acupuncture and Chinese medicine used preventatively, can help improve the overall functionality of your digestive system, which is also key in promoting appropriate immune response to winter’s colds and flu. If you are experiencing discomfort from overindulging, common Chinese herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, fennel or mint steeped in hot water as tea may reduce the ache and distress.
I hope you all enjoy the holiday season, but here are a few tips from the health experts at the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic to help you NOT overdo it at the holiday table:
- Eat your vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains – these healthy foods can make you feel more full and can help keep you away from the empty calories of sweet and salty holiday snacks
- Be active – plan to move, walk or play 30 minutes a day during the holidays to keep your exercise plan on track
- Plan for indulgence – it’s OK to enjoy a sweet dessert or tasty hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the holiday, but if you plan ahead for it, you can eat more healthily throughout the rest of your day