I have a secret weapon that helps my clients beat their bloat (and feel great!) this time of year: Beller’s Comfy Belly Brew! It all starts with these 6 herbs and spices that have been proven to improve your digestion.
Year after year my clients come to me complaining of post-holiday digestive troubles. After all, too many heavy and salty meals can make you feel uncomfortable, bloated, and can make fitting into that little black dress nearly impossible.
Here are my 6 top secret ingredients, along with a recipe to tie it all together. I like to brew a big batch at once and sip away all week!
Not only are dandelion greens chock full of beneficial vitamins A and K, plus important minerals like iron and calcium, they also have gentle diuretic properties. This means that they help flush excess fluids out of your system. So if all of those salty holiday side-dishes have you feeling a bit puffy, this is the green for you! Dandelion greens may also act as a very mild laxative, which will help ‘get things moving’ in the right direction again. You can buy dandelion greens whole, or get dried dandelion tea bags for extra convenience. Definitely add dandelion to your rotation this winter, or just anytime you need a little help zipping up your favorite jeans!
Fennel is often overlooked here in the U.S, but the seeds of this wintertime bulb are actually one of the best de-bloaters out there. In fact, it’s common practice in some cultures to eat a few fennel seeds after meals, since they are a concentrated source of plant oils that can help speed up digestion and rid your body of excess water. The flavor is similar to anise or licorice, but is mild and blends nicely with other flavors. I always keep some fennel seeds on hand to add into my teas for a quick debloat fix!
Ginger is a classic winter spice, with its warmth and sinus-clearing zest. Plus, this spicy root has a long history of being used to help fight nausea and indigestion all over the world. Scientific research also suggests that ginger can help soothe tense digestive muscles and reduce gas and bloating. This is why so many of my favorite holiday recipes include a spoonful (or more!) of fresh or dried ginger. For anyone with a delicate or sensitive tummy, cooking with ginger is a must!
So basic, yet so good for you. Black pepper is a longtime Beller Nutrition favorite for good reason. The biting, earthy flavor of black pepper pairs well with just about anything, from salads to stews. But what you may not know is that this distinct flavor is actually the key to its many health benefits! Black pepper is full of the flavorful compound ‘piperine’, which has been proven to boost digestion in a variety of ways. First off, it stimulates the release of your body’s digestive enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down the food we eat. It also helps your body absorb nutrients more easily, and can help improve blood-flow to your GI system. So go ahead and sprinkle on more of that fresh black pepper, it’s good for you!
When you think of cardamom, your mind probably immediately goes to Indian curries and chai teas, which often feature these spicy-sweet seeds. But cardamom is good for so much more! Like ginger, cardamom can help you fight post-meal gas and indigestion. And like dandelion greens, it can gently flush your system of excess fluids. That’s why cardamom is my favorite go-to spice for when you need help both settling down and slimming down your tummy! I recommend pairing it with other warming spices like ginger and cinnamon. Speaking of which….
Is there a spice that shouts ‘holiday cheer’ more than cinnamon? I don’t think so! While I’m sure cinnamon already stars in many of your favorite wintertime meals and snacks, I bet you didn’t know that there are actually several kinds of cinnamon out there! While cinnamon can help with gas, heartburn, nausea and stomach cramps, not all cinnamon is created equal. Most common varieties of cinnamon actually contain a harmful compound called coumarin, which may be bad news for your liver if you eat too much of it. So when buying cinnamon, be sure to look for ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ – this variety doesn’t contain coumarin, which means you can get the digestive benefits with none of the risks!
Now that you know the 6 best herbs and spices for digestive health, try this easy, no-fuss tea recipe that is sure to soothe your tummy and get that holiday bloat under control.
Beller’s Belly Brew
Combine ingredients together in a large pot and simmer for 15 minutes, and then strain the tea into mugs. Tea can be stored in jars or a pitcher and kept for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Drink warm or chilled.