Food and Nutrition

3 Pre-Bedtime Teas That Are Good for Your Gut

Emily Laurence

Photo: Getty Images/Jasmina007
For most people, dinner is the biggest meal of the day. Breakfast and lunch are often rushed, squeezed in between pressing demands. But evening is when many of us can exhale and unwind over a nourishing meal. But it's precisely because dinner is our biggest meal that you may experience digestive distress in the hours after eating supper—and the next morning. This can come in the form of your stomach churning and working to digest your meal while you try to sleep. It can also result in a few not-so pleasant side effects like diarrhea or constipation the morning after. Poop problems, am I right?

Pro BM tip: Eating earlier in the evening or foods that are easy to digest (like soup, fish, lentils, and rice) can help ease digestive woes, but so can sipping on gut-healthy teas steeped with herbs meant to soothe the stomach and aid digestion post-dinner. Never underestimate the power of plants!

Western culture is one that so often turns to over-the-counter or prescription drugs for ailments of all kinds, gut health included. But before you reach for an antacid, try one of these herbal teas that've been used for centuries in many other cultures to help with digestion and overall gut health. Here, registered dietitians Amy Schwarz, RD, and Kirsten Jackson, RD, (a gastroenterology dietitian) explain how they help with digestion. Also, all of their recs are non-caffeinated so they won't interfere with your sleep.

3 caffeine-free, gut-healthy teas to drink after dinner, according to registered dietitians:

1. Ginger tea

Ginger tea tops both dietitians's list of gut-healthy teas to sip in the evening. "Some small studies have shown that ginger can hasten gastric emptying, which helps [prevent] indigestion," Schwarz says. This means enjoying a hot cup of ginger tea can help get the digestive process going a little quicker so your stomach isn't keeping you up while you're trying to sleep.

But there's more: Bloating and constipation are two other symptoms ginger can alleviate. And you can also think of it as the all-natural alternative to the antacids at your local drugstore if indigestion is an issue for you.

Buy it now: Vandam Organic Turmeric and Ginger Tea ($30); Yogi Ginger Tea ($24 for a pack of 6); Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Organic Herbal Leaf Tea ($28 for a pack of 6)

More into shots than cups of tea? Watch the video below to see how to use ginger to make an anti-inflammatory shooter:

2. Peppermint tea

"Peppermint has been used for centuries to treat GI issues," Schwarz says. She explains that peppermint soothes the stomach by preventing stomach muscle contraction, which then keeps the stomach from cramping. It's especially been shown to be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome.

For these reasons, peppermint tea can be beneficial to sip in the evening to help calm the stomach, whether it's acting up because of something you ate or because of nerves. Either way, it'll work its magic to calm the digestive tract down so you can sleep easier.

Buy it now: Pukka Three Mint Organic Herbal Tea with Peppermint ($27); Twinnings of London Pure Peppermint Herbal Tea ($3); Taylor's of Harrogate Organic Herbal Tea ($10)

Watch the video below to see how to make a chocolate peppermint tea:

3. Chamomile tea

This is a classic pre-bedtime tea because the herb is so strongly linked to relaxation, but Jackson says it has gut-healthy benefits, too. "It contains prebiotics, which are food for the gut bacteria and can also help to ease constipation," she says. Any food or herb that can help increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut is definitely worth sipping on the reg.

Buy it now: Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile and Lavender Tea ($5); Taylor's Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea ($8); Vahdam Classic Chamomile Organic Herbal Tea ($30)

Watch the video below to see how to integrate chamomile into homemade vegan ice cream:

 

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