How to digest a holiday-sized meal

Eat, drink, and be merry!

How to digest a holiday-sized meal
Stars Insider

22/11/18 | StarsInsider

LIFESTYLE Healthy eating

'Tis the season to finally learn from the mistakes of your holiday past, and be proactive about the dreaded and inevitable food coma

Believe it or not, although lying down might feel good when you're stuffed to the brim with gravy and roasts, it's not very effective for digestion. According to The Cut, complete digestion—from the time of consumption to when food leaves the body as waste—normally takes about 53 hours, but can range from 24 to 72 hours depending on whether you're a man or woman, on whether the food was richer in protein or fiber, and also on what you do to enhance your digestive arc. 

Since faster digestion means you'll have more space sooner for holiday goodies, here are some ways to speed the process up.

Digestifs are your new best friend. A digestif is technically any alcoholic drink served after a meal in the name of digestion, and can include everything from cognac and sherry to sambuca and Jägermeister. What goes better with a holiday meal than a holiday spirit? You'll want to lean towards bitter drinks, however, as the bitterness is believed to encourage the body to get things moving. Just don't go overboard!

Take a walk. Oh, the weather outside might be frightful, but the exercise for your digestion is delightful. The ideal time to go is about two hours after eating, and it could be a great excuse to take a break from the food coma family madness that will ensue. 

Get some ginger in your system. Whatever form it's in (gingerbread cookies are probably not the best option), ginger promotes the flow of saliva, stimulates stomach movements, and helps gastric emptying.

Drink water! Water is key to keeping things moving through your system, and it's especially good for you when it's steeped with green tea or peppermint. Room temperature water is better than iced, which may actually slow down digestion.

Dare to do yoga. While bending yourself like a pretzel might not be an option, the vajrasana pose is said to promote digestion and just involves kneeling on the ground and sitting upright. If that's still too much, the pushan mudra is a hand-yoga pose believed to be associated with the stomach, liver, and gallbladder.

If you must lie down, at least do it right. Wait at least three hours before succumbing to gravity, and when you do, lay on your left side to promote better digestion, avoid heartburn, and let gravity do most of the work. 

Happy eating! 

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