How to avoid indigestion over the holidays – 5 easy tips


By Edison de Mello, MD PhD

It’s that time of year again – the holiday “eating season.” And while lots of people think the holidays are the most wonderful time of year, your gut may disagree. That’s because it’s this time of the year when people flood their system with rich, sugary foods – and that can lead to digestive issues, low immune function, and plenty of weight gain. In fact, the average American gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and the new year. So how do you avoid stressing your gut out over the holidays?

1. Start smart: Starting each day with a healthy balanced meal sets a good intention for the day. And if you eat something nourishing first thing you’re more likely to stay full and energized, and less prone to unhealthy snacking. I like to start the day with seasonal fruit, coconut yogurt, and a big glass of ActivatedYou morning complete – it’s a balance of probiotics, prebiotics, and powerful nutrients designed to kickstart each day with health.

  1. Choose wisely at those holiday parties. That means watching your sugar and carb intake, and paying close attention to what you drink. I like to start my night with a green salad – before I go out – to fill me up a little. It helps me make good choices when I’m out!

    And if you must drink alcohol, don’t go for egg nog, sangria, punch, or other sugar-laced cocktails. Instead, stick to something like antioxidant-rich red wine, or a vodka and soda water. And make sure to drink plenty of water before you drink alcohol – and in between each drink.

    3. Pace yourself. Eat slowly, and eat small portions. And make sure to wait 20 minutes after the first course (and drink a big glass of water). That way, your gut has time to tell your brain “I’m full!” before you overeat.

    4. Help your gut out. This might be the most important of all – because here’s the truth: you’re likely going to indulge – at least a little – over the holidays. And that’s fine. After all, fun with friends and family is an amazing way to lift your spirit.

    But since it’s the season of indulgence, it’s important to give your digestive system plenty of support. And that means taking two things:

  2. A probiotic, like ActivatedYou Advanced Restorative Probiotic. This helps populate your gut with beneficial bacteria to aid digestion, reduce discomfort and bloating, and keep your energy levels high. Look for a probiotic with at LEAST 20 billion CFUs of live, active cultures – the more the better! And make sure you’re taking in a variety of strains – each has a slightly different function.
  3. A digestive enzyme, like Active Enzyme. This is key for helping your body break down food efficiently, so you get the most nutrients possible from your food. Your body makes a certain amount of enzymes on its own, but adding more to the mix – especially if you know you’re going to be eating heavy meals – really helps keep your digestion efficient and comfortable.
  1. Get moving – It’s easy to decide that winter is a time to hibernate – after all, when it’s chilly outside, it can be really hard to stay motivated to exercise. But exercise has been shown to be key for helping ease digestion… and it’s a great way to balance out those heavy meals.

    And here’s the great news – you don’t have to train for a marathon to enjoy the health benefits of exercise. Shovel snow, or enjoy a family snowball fight. Play a game of football after Thanksgiving dinner. Take a couple of extra laps around the mall when you’re christmas shopping.

    Just make it a point to get moving for at least 20 minutes a day (preferably more), all season long!

    Oh, and one other thing: enjoy your holidays!

Dr. Edison de Mello is the Founder of Akasha Center. You can schedule an appointment with him by calling 310-451-8880 or emailing us at