It can be so easy to indulge during the festive season but herbs can improve digestion.
Who hasn’t been tempted to indulge in the delicious foods and beverages of the holiday season?
There are herbs and spices that are naturally a part of the festive season that are also good for digestion. Following are some herbs and spices to consider and some guidelines for a healthier holiday season. It is no accident these aromatic herbs are used in festive foods. Use them in flavored waters or tea to keep them handy when you overindulge.
Cardamom is an herb that warms up the digestive tract as it speeds up and increases the thoroughness of digestion. It’s an aromatic spice that provides a peppery, citrusy fragrance to food and also reduces gas and spasms, ideal after a heavy Christmas meal. Crush the seeds and infuse in hot water to make a tea.
Cinnamon bark and spice is ideal for digestive concerns as it helps with appetite, bloating, flatulence and a sluggish digestion. Who hasn’t had hot chocolate with cinnamon bark? Sprinkle it into coffee as well or enjoy it with tea. Of course it is widely used in baking, especially during the festive season. The wonderful warming properties of cinnamon also means it provides relief from heartburn, nausea and stomach cramps.
Cinnamon helps with weight loss and weight management has it inhibits metabolized sugar from being transformed into fat.
Fennel is well known for easing gas, especially in colicky children. As a digestive aid, fennel helps with bloating and stomach cramps. Add the seeds to holiday baking, sprinkle into a salad or mashed potatoes. Fennel seeds also make a great tea and work well with other aromatic herbs like ginger and peppermint. The sweet, pungent and cooling taste means fennel seeds can be chewed after meals or added to water to sip as needed.
Ginger has always been touted for providing better digestion as it stimulates and helps absorb nutrients in the stomach. It also increases circulation, reduces nausea and absorbs gases and toxins from fatty foods. Ginger tea is a natural to use and can be combined with other herbs such as lemon balm or peppermint for better effect. Need something quick and easy? Chew on candied ginger after consuming sweet or fatty foods.
Peppermint is used in candy canes and baked goods during the holidays. Drinking peppermint tea after eating sweet treats or a heavy meal can improve digestion. Another consideration is to use peppermint essential oil diluted in a base oil and massaged onto the tummy. The essential oil has a therapeutic effect on the digestive system that eases bloating, relieves gas, calms digestive spasms and helps reduce pain and discomfort.