Supporting your digestive health over Christmas
The festive season brings a wonderful array of food and drink to enjoy but it’s a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge! All the overeating, especially of rich food, and drinking more alcohol puts a strain on the digestive system and people commonly suffer heartburn, indigestion (including bloating, gas or nausea), constipation or diarrhoea, as a result.
This year be prepared and find out how to support your digestion, so you can enjoy the season’s fayre in a little more comfort!
Here are some tips when it comes to festive digestion:
Try an ‘After Dinner’ herbal tea ( Pukka) – to support digestion –containing aniseed, cardamom, chicory, fennel, and licorice. Have after a main meal instead of a regular tea or coffee!
Try Ginger Tea or Camomile Tea–which are also great for supporting digestion.
Avoid the common culprits as much as you can! For Heartburn: caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, fizzy drinks, tomatoes, chocolate and peppermint. For indigestion: excess caffeine or alcohol, greasy foods and spicy foods.
Soak your nuts and seeds– to make them easier to digest. Soak in cold water overnight and in the morning rinse and keep in the fridge. Use that day.
Include fermented foods and drinks– eg sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir to provide beneficial bacteria and support the whole digestive system.
Consider food intolerances– gluten and dairy are common allergens and festive food can often contain both of these, so for some people just an over consumption of these foods can cause a problem. Gluten is a difficult to protein to digest anyway, even if you don’t have an intolerance and so for some that can cause bloating or discomfort. If you suspect any foods are a problem, try taking a digestive enzyme, to see if that helps. However, it may be that you need to avoid certain foods completely. Consider a food intolerance test, which looks at IgG anti-bodies in the blood.
What can we take?
Here are some commonly used supplements to support a number of digestive symptoms:
- Digestive enzymes– these help to break down food, to ensure we’re getting as many nutrients from our food as possible. They are very useful if you’re eating large, heavy or rich meals or when eating out and you’re not sure if the meal contains a ‘problem’ food for you. Choose a broad spectrum digestive enzyme to break down different food groups. Take at the start of a meal. Try these for: indigestion, bloating and gas.
- Probiotics – these are the beneficial bacteria in the gut. We need good levels of these for all aspects of a healthy gut, including digestion. Sugar, alcohol, stress and anti-biotics all disrupt our levels of good bacteria. Try these for: gas, constipation, diarrhoea
- Aloe Vera Juice – is naturally cooling and soothing. It has as anti-inflammatory action on the digestive tract, so is great for supporting acid reflux and indigestion, as well as any discomfort in the gut. Try taking the liquid for heartburn and the tablets for digestive complaints lower down in the gut. Try this for: gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn
- Ginger – is well known for relieving nausea but it is also known as a carminative, helping to release excessive gases from the digestive system. It has also been traditionally used as a digestive stimulant, stimulating the release of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which are needed to break down our food properly. Try this as a supplement for: indigestion, gas, bloating and discomfort, as well as nausea.
- Slippery Elm – has a soothing action on the digestive tract. Some supplements combine this with marshmallow and gamma oryzanol and sometimes licorice and aloe as well, for further digestive support. Try this for: heartburn, along with digestive enzymes
- Psyllium husk also known as a pre-biotic, that feeds the good bacteria and helps bowel movements. It comes as a powder and you can add to water and drink or add straight to food. Try this for: constipation.
- Artichoke Extract– Artichoke is a food that stimulates bile flow so this supplement is often taken prior to a meal to support fat digestion. Try this for: discomfort or indigestion from eating fatty foods.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Bloating and Gas
- Digestive Enzymes
Aloe Vera tablets
This is a time of celebration so relax and enjoy your food without feeling guilty! You can be gluten free, dairy free, soya free, egg free and refined sugar free and still have plenty to enjoy over Christmas. Come in and see what goodies we have in the shop!
Here’s wishing you a very happy Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year!