The cold weather months can be unkind to our stomach.
Between holiday parties, fewer chances to exercise outdoors, and metabolisms that drop along with the temperature, it’s no wonder we gain weight and have trouble with digestive disorders during the winter.
However, there are steps you can take to promote a healthy digestive system and not feel sluggish or bogged down until spring. Let’s look at some things you should (and shouldn’t) eat and drink to improve digestion in winter.
1. Root vegetables and winter greens
Veggies like sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, turnips and parsnips are plentiful this time of year, and rich in Vitamin C, which can help your immune system face down flu season.
And while you might associate leafy green vegetables with the warm weather months, you can still find a nice selection of greens during winter. These include chard, kale, leeks, mustard greens, spinach and brussels sprouts.
These greens are full of dietary fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements and digestion, while also making you feel satiated longer. This will help you resist the urge to binge on less healthy foods.
Ghee is a form of clarified butter made from butterfat, milk solids and water. Used in Indian cuisine, it’s been shown to improve digestion by promoting healthy gut bacteria, while also providing a boost to the immune system.
Ghee also contains soluble vitamins, which help in weight loss. You can use it to sauté rice and vegetables, in making baked goods, or for roasting vegetables.
3. Herbs and spices
We’ve written before about how the spices like ginger and turmeric can boost digestion when you use them to make tea.
Your pantry is full of these and other spices – cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves – so take advantage of them this winter. Add them to teas, infuse them into dessert recipes or use them in soups.
4. Smaller meals, more often
Eating a really big meal puts a heavy burden on our digestive system, which can lead to indigestion, constipation or diarrhea.
But when you eat a series of smaller meals your body has an easier time breaking down and using the nutrients in your food, which keeps calories from being stored as fat.
And try not to eat late at night. We need at least two or three hours to digest a meal, and chowing down too close to bed time can wreck your digestive process. Improve digestion by avoiding late night meals, and try not to lie down right after eating.
5. Be careful with beverages
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a mug of tea, coffee or cocoa in our hands on a cold winter day. But be careful what you drink. Your local coffee shop’s menu of frappucinos and lattes are often chock full of calories that your digestive system won’t detect the same way it does solid foods.
And even though you aren’t sweating like you would be in the summer time, it’s important to stay hydrated in the winter. Drinking water prevents bloating, flushes away toxins and can help you feel full.
If you’re seeking additional ways to improve your digestive system this winter, look to Proper Nutrition. Our dietary supplements such as Seacure and Intestive are made from protein-rich white fish that contain bioactive peptides that alleviate the effects of digestive disorders.
Visit our website today to find a supplement that can help your digestive system get through the winter.