As a society we tend to overeat and drink too much, often in the form of grains, sugar, dairy, and alcohol. This practice seems to be magnified during certain times of the year, with family and work gatherings picking up and the pressure to create a buffet that impresses the guests in sight, smell, and taste.
Unfortunately this mindless gorging often brings consequences that we regret later, with indigestion and lethargy kicking in from the sheer amount of food and improper combinations. The good news is you can have a potential safe haven from digestive distress if you use these 3 natural digestive aids appropriately.
Put simply, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. The fermentation process was developed centuries ago as a means of preserving vegetables for consumption over the winter months. However, sauerkraut is used more often today as a means to keep the intestinal system clean and digestion working at optimal capacity.
There are many factors that affect the ease of digestion, but some of the biggest players include probiotics, enzymes, and magnesium. Fortunately, sauerkraut contains all of these factors which provides a powerhouse digestive aid that can help break down other components to your meal that may be difficult to digest, including grains, sugars, and dairy.
The beauty of sauerkraut is that it combines well with any food for digestion and makes an excellent side to any meal. It also balances out the often-salty holiday fare with its slightly sour taste.
To learn more about sauerkraut and how to make it, check out our Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe.
Peppermint is a popular herb used during the holidays, and it is well known for its aromatic properties. It has been used to freshen the home, to make a tea, to infuse into chocolate, and to make candy canes.
The most popular use of peppermint is as a relief to various stomach conditions, including indigestion. Due to the menthol content that peppermint leaves contain, it helps the stomach muscles to relax, which counteracts any spasms or feelings of indigestion.
Use peppermint effectively by creating a tea using fresh leaves, or by putting a couple of drops into a glass of warm water following a meal. Alternatively, you could inhale the scent right from the bottle, or rub a few drops onto the stomach area to create near instant relief.
For more ways to use the healing powers of peppermint, check out 6 Ways To Maximize the Healing Power of Peppermint.
Apple cider vinegar
Many people have caught on to the benefits of apple cider vinegar and have been using it for all types of chronic and acute conditions. Most notably, however, is its use as an intestinal aid to improve digestion and overall health.
Conditions related to the digestive system that it has shown to improve include preventing and relieving indigestion, removing acid reflux, promoting bowel regularity, destroying Candida and fungus by populating the gut with beneficial bacteria, and increasing stomach acid for better digestion and nutrient absorption in the intestinal system.
If you have never tried apple cider vinegar be warned it is not too tasty on its own. If you have a sensitive palate, try using it in salad dressings or any other recipe that calls for white vinegar. If you can handle nearly anything, as long as it works, then take an ounce or more (or dilute in water, if desired) either before meals, after, or both (depending on the types of foods you plan to eat, and how much). A severe case of indigestion after a meal can often be resolved by continually taking shots of apple cider vinegar until you find relief.
Enjoy mealtime, but make sure to take care of your digestive system by using these digestive aids, and learn more about gut friendly foods and herbs and how to help heal intestinal damage by reading Heal your Gut – Top 5 Superfoods.