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6 Thanksgiving Tips for Digestion and Detox

Before indulging in this year’s Thanksgiving feast, make sure to review these six tips for taking care of your stomach and liver.

Foodies rejoice; Thanksgiving is almost here! The typical American Thanksgiving feast is one of the few times a year when dietary restrictions are trumped by culinary temptation. Although some traditional Thanksgiving foods can be healthy, most people overindulge in plenty of less than healthy holiday staples.

Especially for those who have concerns about their liver operating at full capacity, the gluttony associated with Thanksgiving can be problematic. Because the body is typically overloaded on this holiday, assisting with digestion and detoxification can help the liver get back on track.

Food Coma

A feast to give thanks for the recent harvest, the fourth Thursday in November is celebrated by a majority of Americans. The Thanksgiving meal typically features a roasted turkey, but it is also associated with overeating high-glycemic and fatty foods. Many are familiar with the post-Thanksgiving food coma – a bloated, lethargic state that follows the meal (and may continue for several days after). Experts point to the common practice of overeating foods that cause a sharp spike in sugar and fat in the blood as the primary culprits in post-Thanksgiving food coma.

Blood Glucose, Liver Inflammation and Congestion

According to the American Council on Exercise, the average Thanksgiving meal contains greater than 3000 calories and at least 229 grams of fat (more than should be consumed in two entire days). The high-glycemic foods typically consumed during Thanksgiving (such as mashed potatoes, sweet cranberry sauce, yams with marshmallows, stuffing and pumpkin pie) cause a spike in blood glucose levels, which causes liver inflammation and congestion. The fatty foods consumed (such as bacon or sausage in stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, gravy made with turkey drippings, anything fried or creamy and rich deserts) deposits lipids in the blood, which also cause liver inflammation and congestion.

Tips for Digestion and Liver Cleansing

Although sticking to turkey breast and blanched green beans will help you avoid the post-Thanksgiving food coma, many look forward to thoroughly enjoying all that their feast has to offer. The following six tips will help you digest and detox after a big holiday meal – functioning to reduce the burden Thanksgiving places on your liver:

  1. Go For a Walk – Instead of stretching out on the sofa after feasting, go for a walk. A brisk, 20- to 30-minute walk will generate circulation that helps get the digestive system moving. Walking helps oxygenate the blood, making it easier to get rid of built-up toxins and clear glucose and fat from the bloodstream. Researchers have found lowered blood glucose levels, even in diabetic patients, after they go for a 20-minute walk.
  2. Probiotics – Probiotic supplements can aid in digestion and detoxification. (Natural Wellness’ Ultra Probiotic Formula has a high potency of 35 billion viable cells per capsule.) A healthy gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms that aid in metabolizing food, absorbing nutrients and producing vitamins and important digestive enzymes. Probiotics provide an abundance of healthy gut flora, which helps with absorbing beneficial nutrients and eliminating toxins. Thus, probiotics before and after a large feast can help the digestive system process the excess.
  3. Digestive Enzymes – Digestive enzymes help break down food into digestible nutrients. This enables the food we eat to be better absorbed and utilized by the body. Without sufficient digestive enzymes, the body is either unable or slow to perform its digestive functions. Thus, after a large meal, like a Thanksgiving feast, supplementing with digestive enzymes can be instrumental in reducing bloating, heartburn, constipation, digestive inflammation and fatigue. Natural Wellness’ Digestive Enzymes can help you enjoy your food again! Additionally, Natural Wellness’ UltraNourish has 585 mg of a proprietary digestive enzyme blend.
  4. Make Soup with Leftovers – One of the perpetuators of post-Thanksgiving food coma is repeating the meal with leftovers. However, making a low-sodium, inflammation-reducing soup is a smart way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Skip the leftover carbohydrates and pies, and focus on the turkey. Use the turkey carcass to make a broth. Add plenty of fresh ginger and turmeric to reduce inflammation and fresh greens for their nutritious content. Once the broth is done, add some leftover turkey breast meat for protein. The resulting leftover turkey soup is good for your liver and your digestive system.
  5. Liver Support & Detox – Especially if burdened with a compromised liver, give the liver extra support to aid in detoxification. The combination of ingredients in Natural Wellness’ Liver Support & Detox helps clear toxins from the bloodstream for optimizing liver function. The milk thistle in this formula protects liver cells from the inflammation caused by the post-Thanksgiving food coma.
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar – Real, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar is an easily available and inexpensive tool to support detoxification. Advocates suggest mixing one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’ (the active enzymes found in unfiltered vinegar) into an 8-ounce glass of purified water. Watered down apple cider vinegar helps break through sludge that slows down digestion and helps neutralize toxins.

The health requirements of certain individuals might put some holiday foods off limits, but most people (even those with liver concerns) can partake in the yearly Thanksgiving feast. When taking a serving of your sister’s famous sausage stuffing or grabbing a slice of pumpkin cheesecake for desert, remember: moderation is advised. Even if restricting your mashed potato scoop to a teaspoon, it is easy to overdo it during this holiday.

You can prepare for a post-Thanksgiving food coma by having apple cider vinegar, probiotics, digestive enzymes and Liver Support & Detox on hand. In addition, make sure to enjoy a lengthy walk after your meal – it is guaranteed to help a bloated belly feel better. And, lastly, use Thanksgiving leftovers wisely. By combining these six tips, your digestive system will recover quickly, the inflammation aggravating your liver will be extinguished and you will successfully detox from your harvest-celebrating feast.


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http://naturalsociety.com/4-easy-ways-detox-thanksgiving-dinner/, 4 Easy Ways to Detox After Thanksgiving Day, Christina Sarich, Retrieved November 1, 2015, Natural Society, 2015.

http://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/392/hard-to-believe-average-thanksgiving-meal-equals-3, Hard to Believe: Average Thanksgiving Meal Equals 3,000 Calories and 229 Grams of Fat, Retrieved November 1, 2015, The American Council on Exercise, 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linden-schaffer/detox-diet_b_2187797.html, Want to Detox After Thanksgiving? Find a Plan Right for You, Linden Schaffer, Retrieved November 1, 2015, TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/food-coma-dont-blame-the-turkey_n_1111258.html, Thanksgiving Food Coma? Don't Blame The Turkey!, Cara Santa Maria, Retrieved November 1, 2015, TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 2015.

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Thanksgiving-Detox-Tips-25946378, Day-After Detox: How to Get Back on Track After Thanksgiving, Leta Shy, Retrieved November 1, 2015, Popsugar, 2015.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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