With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, it may be wise to prioritize your digestive health. Both holidays are often associated with indulgent and rich foods, which can sometimes be a strain on the digestive system. Aside from helping you avoid being overstuffed or lethargic, healthy digestion can also ensure proper nutrient absorption. It may even affect your energy levels.
Chiropractors may be able to help with this important aspect of your health. Contrary to the common misconception, they treat more than just the spine. Chiropractic physicians consider the overall health of patients. They recognize the interconnectedness of the body and address factors like nutrition, gait, posture, exercise, mental health, and lifestyle habits to promote overall well-being. They can also help treat many issues like digestive symptoms and common conditions such as bloating, gas, cramps, reflux, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, Crohn’s, IBS and Colitis.
If you have any of these concerns or just want to ensure your digestive health is optimal, here are a few healthy digestion tips that may be able to contribute to a more enjoyable and comfortable holiday experience.
1. Identify your stressors and try to manage them well
While the holidays can be a time of great joy, they can also lead to a lot of stress. Before you can learn how to handle your stress levels better, you have to figure out where the source of your stress is. You can’t always eliminate it, because life is life. However, you can learn ways to handle certain situations better. Although some things may be out of your control, what you can control is how you handle it. It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle or react to it.
There are several ways you can learn to manage your stress better. Whether it’s taking some alone time to meditate, talking to others or just taking a breath and a step back, figure out what works for you. Stress can have a big impact on our overall health if it’s not being managed properly.
2. Restore communication from gut and brain
One of the benefits of receiving adjustment is that it can help properly align the body in a way that helps ensure your nervous system is functioning properly. This, in turn, can restore communication that happens between the gut and the brain.
The gut and the brain are more connected than you may think. According to a study, strong evidence suggests that gut microbiota has an important role in bidirectional interactions between the gut and the nervous system.
3. Clean up your diet
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a great way to approach cleaning up your diet. The principle suggests that 80% of your diet should consist of nutritious and wholesome foods, while the remaining 20% can be reserved for treats or less healthy options like processed foods that contain high levels of salt and sugar.
This approach allows for flexibility and can help you strike a balance between maintaining a nutritious diet and enjoying occasional treats. Tailor it to your personal preferences and dietary needs. A chiropractor can even help provide personalized advice if you have specific dietary concerns or goals.
4. Take enzyme supplements
Taking enzyme supplements can have a number of positive effects on your digestive health. They can be surprisingly powerful in breaking down the food we digest. It can help heal the lining of the gut, strengthen digestion, restore the microbiome and even clean up bowel toxicity.
5. Give the body time
To see results, you have to give the body time to heal. You aren’t necessarily going to notice significant differences overnight. Depending on how long you’ve had certain symptoms and issues will impact the overall length of the recovery period. For example, healing something like leaky gut can take anywhere from three to six months and even up to a year. It all depends on each individual person.
6. Practice healthy eating habits
At first, diets can seem complicated, but they don’t have to be. Focus on eating organic fruits and vegetables, stick to wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey. In this day and age, you have to eat organic as much as you can. In the United States, in particular, it’s getting harder and harder to eat healthy and clean. If it’s not organic, at least make sure it’s not genetically modified, which can harm your gut.
Aside from the type of food you eat, the way you eat can have an impact on your digestive health too. With our busy schedules, many eat on the go or in a rush. Try designating a time to sit and eat in a calm manner. Even chewing your food more thoroughly can easily be overlooked but can help your body digest food significantly better. One way to ensure you’re doing this is by practicing the “Fork Rule”: take a bite of food and put your fork down, then chew and chew your food. Each bite should become like a liquid soup to allow the salvia and enzymes in the mouth to mix before you swallow it. After this, you will likely notice three things: 1. your jaw may hurt because you’re not used to chewing that much, 2. you’re going to eat less. 3. you’ll have less bloating post-meal.
7. Get Tested
If you know there’s something wrong with your digestive health but are not quite sure what’s broken, getting tested or doing a digestive evaluation is a great place to start. At my practice, patients complete a six-day food log, symptom surveys, digestive physical exams, and integrative urinalysis panels. Each of these evaluations can help you learn more about your current state of health, specifically your bowel toxicity, nutritional status, absorption rate and more.
Many symptoms may be indicative of larger problems going on with your digestive health. This time of year, you can’t just ignore them. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to take your health into your own hands in order to see improvements. Chiropractors can help guide you through the process and provide solutions that are noninvasive and have few side-effects.
Chiropractors recognize that the body is smart. It knows exactly what to do and how to heal, it just needs to be supported. If we can understand how the body works, we don’t have to outsmart the body, we just have to give it what it needs to support normal function in order for it to do its job.