Thanksgiving is upon us, marking the official kickoff of the holiday season, and yes, this one is going to be a little different – to say the least.
We’ve been through a lot this year, all of us. Sometimes it might seem hard to find reasons for gratitude, but there are always things to be thankful for. If this year has made anything absolutely clear, health, friends, and family are certainly at the top of the list.
Whatever version of Thanksgiving celebrations you choose this year — outdoor, virtual, or anything in between — enjoy with those you love. Eat your favorite holiday foods while remembering to support your gut health despite what lands on your plate.
Keep in mind that up to 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, and holiday meals can take a toll on your digestion. Digestive secretions of the pancreas, stomach and gallbladder are necessary to appropriately break down food substances into the smaller molecules the body is then able to utilize. Digestive enzymes, supplemental bile acids, and probiotics all play a role in digestive wellness and gut flora health. You might want this digestive support before heading into your holiday meal.
We can’t talk about digestive health without addressing the central nervous system, which affects the digestive process via the vagus nerve. The “vagal tone” balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The parasympathetic state is also known as “rest and digest” while sympathetic “fight or flight” response is driven by stress-related hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. I have a few favorite supplements of my own that help balance the nervous system during stressful times.
As challenging of a year as this has been, I hope that this Thanksgiving you can be fully present with the people you are celebrating with, and focus on what brings you joy and gratitude. No matter what is going on in our individual and collective worlds, I hope you will come out stronger on the other side.
I'm so thankful for you! Have a great Thanksgiving.