Did you overindulge a bit this past holiday season? If you did, you’re not alone. According to a 2022 survey, 65% of the respondents said they feel they deserve to indulge in holiday treats and comfort foods. The good news is that 25% of the respondents said their New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier. If you are one of the many who want to get back on track when it comes to eating, a great place to start is by supporting healthy digestion.
Overeating, especially foods that are high in fat and sugar, suppresses hormones like ghrelin and leptin that indicate hunger.1In other words, overeating creates a vicious cycle where you continually feel hungry. This makes sense because the gut and the brain are in constant communication.2 In addition, overeating causes digestion to slow down so food remains in the stomach longer and is more likely to be stored as fat, which leads to weight gain.
One of the best ways to support digestion is to replace unhealthy foods with superfoods for the digestive system. Digestive superfoods include leafy greens, vegetables, and fresh fruits, which contain fiber. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir are also belly-friendly foods. Garlic and onions are prebiotic-rich foods that will also help support digestion.
Food Pyramid Replaced with MyPlate
The MyPlate icon is a great tool to visually create a healthy meal. With the MyPlate program, half the plate should be fruits and vegetables with ¼ grains and ¼ protein. Protein should be lean or low-fat and half the grains should be whole grains. It’s also important to vary protein choices to include seafood, lean meat, poultry, beans, and eggs. Low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt is suggested.
People often wonder, is meat harder to digest than vegetables? It’s the fat content in the meat that can lead to a sluggish digestive system. Digestive enzymes, like KAL Super Enzymes, taken with the meal can help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.3
Snacks for good digestion include fruit like apples and berries, nuts, or beans like hummus and edamame.
New Year, New Plate
Getting back on track after the holiday season is possible. The MyPlate website has lots of great information including resources and recipes. It provides a visual reminder of how to make healthy eating choices, which will help create a new you in the new year. Research shows that the MyPlate way of eating helps people create a more healthful diet.4
Another way to help you get back on track nutrient-wise is to take a multivitamin. Since sugary and carb-loaded foods don’t have many nutrients, it’s important to make sure you’re getting these from healthy foods and supplements. Multivitamin AM/PM has essential vitamins and minerals including B, C and zinc for morning energy and evening relaxation. MultiSaurus® for Kids is chewable and delicious with a fructose-free formula.
- Blackburn K. What happens when you overeat? MD Anderson Cancer Center. 2018;Feb. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/What-happens-when-you-overeat.h23Z1592202.html
- Appleton J. The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2018;17(4):28-32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469458/?report=reader
- Ianiro G, Pecere S, Giorgio V, Gasbarrini A, Cammarota G. Digestive Enzyme Supplementation in Gastrointestinal Diseases. Curr Drug Metab. 2016;17(2):187-193. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923703/?report=reader
- Schwartz JL, Vernarelli JA. Assessing the public’s comprehension of dietary guidelines: Use of MyPyramid or MyPlate is associated with healthier diets among US adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2019;119(3):482-489. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30563781/