5 Secrets of Digestion

The holiday season is here, and coming with it are festive buttery desserts, sugary mixed drinks, and fat-laden snacks. Celebrations can often encourage indulgence and make us consume a bit more than we bargained. Unfortunately, overeating can cause indigestion and zap our energy. Bloating, cramping, and heartburn are signs that your body is suffering from poor nutrient absorption and digestion. Here are some tips to help you break the tradition of tummy trouble without cramping your holiday style!


1. Chew and Chat

Happy occasions call for socializing and indulging in good conversation. Digestion begins in the mouth, so make sure you slowly chew and savor each morsel. Taking the time to chew your food enables your body to extract and absorb all the necessary nutrients. In addition to pancreatic juices and enzymes, our salivary glands contain digestive enzymes that begin the digestive process. After thoroughly chewing your food, spend a few minutes chatting with your neighbor before taking your next mouthful! Since your brain takes about twenty minutes to signal satiety, you may find that you will eventually feel comfortably full after eating less.


2. Tasty Triggers

As much as you love grandma’s traditional cookie recipes, keep in mind that rich, fatty foods often trigger acid reflux. Not only will excess sugar pack on the pounds, but that excess weight can aggravate your indigestion. Some foods that can disturb your holiday fun include: chocolate, caffeine, fried foods, alcohol, and sweet treats. If you choose to indulge, limit yourself to one small serving of your favorite treat, whether it be sweet or savory.


3. Beat the Bloat

Deflate your belly after a large meal with some delicious herbal tea. Instead of that after-dinner drink, sip on a soothing cup of chamomile, mint, or ginger tea. You may also try steeping 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to stand for five minutes, strain, and enjoy!

Bonus Tip: Sip on a blend of Chinese herbs in Internal Cleanse Tea for digestive support and cleansing.


4. Take a Walk to Keep the Pounds Off

You don’t have to power walk or jog to get the added benefits of exercise. One of the secrets to healthy digestion is to take a simple 10 to 15 minute stroll after a meal. When you finish that last bite of pie, take a walk to help the food move along your digestive tract. For added relief, massage your abdomen with your palms in a clockwise circle around your belly while walking.


5. Portion Patrol

You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treats—as long as you enjoy them in moderation. Whether you choose to savor some rich, chocolate cake or indulge in creamy mashed potatoes, make sure you are mindful of your portions. To help you eyeball amounts here is a simple guideline you can follow: 3 oz of meat is the size of a deck of cards, as is 1 slice of cake; 1/2 cup of rice equals a light bulb; 1 oz. cheese equals the size of 3 stacked dice. Enjoy a small sample of the foods you love without going back for seconds to prevent a bursting belt buckle!

Bonus Tip: We often eat more quickly and consume more food when we are very hungry. Snack on unsalted nuts and seeds to keep hunger at bay. Also, a whole food supplement can satisfy your hunger cravings and help you get your daily serving of nutrients. High Performance is a combination of unique healing herbs, exotic seeds, and wholesome grains that improves your digestion and boosts your energy level.


Light & Simple Side Dish

Is it your turn to bring a dish to a potluck party? Try this simple and nutritious stuffing recipe that is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and tons of flavor!


1 cup wild rice

4 cups water

1 cup mushrooms

1 onion

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Wash the wild rice thoroughly and if you have the time, soak for an hour, then drain as much water as possible. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil and add the wild rice. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes. The rice will puff up slightly and should be chewy and firm in texture. Set the rice aside and sauteé the onions for 3 to 5 minutes; then add the mushrooms and celery. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes and when ready, add the rice, cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds to the mushroom mixture. All the flavors and aromas will melt into one for a deliciously warm, holiday dish!


I hope that your holiday season is delicious, nutritious, and merry!

You can discover more digestion-enhancing practices in The Natural Health Dictionary, a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing healthy foods, vitamins, and supplements. You may also be interested in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.

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—Dr. Mao

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