Although this holiday season may not be full of parties and get-togethers, overindulging is still going to happen at my house. Baked goods, eggnog, and a few wine glasses may mean my digestive system is going to need some extra help to handle all the excess goodies.
Overeating or feasting on foods that you do not eat on a regular basis can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, heartburn and abdominal pressure. Overeating isn't the only cause of these symptoms. Other culprits include:
- Eating too quickly
- Eating high-fat foods
- Eating salty foods
- Eating when feeling stressed
Some Favorite Remedies for Digestive Discomfort
Don’t let indigestion or GI discomfort put a damper on your holiday cheer. Below are some of my favorite remedies for easing gas and bloating.
1. Digestive herbs: Bitter formulas, such as Pathway Digest-Ease, contain a combination of herbs such as gentian, ginger, Oregon grape, fennel and peppermint, which can provide immediate support for GI distress, such as gas, bloating and stomach pain. These herbs stimulate the body’s ability to secrete more digestive juices to enhance digestion. I recommend taking about 30 drops in a small amount of water just before eating a meal.
2. Digestive enzymes: Enzyme supplements, such as Pathway Superzymes, help the body absorb certain foods more efficiently and can aid digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This formula contains hydrochloric acid (HCl) for extra support, boosting stomach acid levels to help with protein digestion and ox bile to aid in fat digestion.
3. Ginger / mint tea: Drinking a cup or two of a hot herbal digestive tea after meals is a great way to promote healthy digestion and ease stomach distress. Peppermint, fennel or ginger based teas are particularly helpful for indigestion, gas, and relieving a sense of fullness. These herbs help to promote the flow of digestive juices and are pleasant tasting. I particularly like Traditional Medicinals Eater’s Digest Tea.
4. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL): DGL is an excellent herb to help soothe mucous membranes of the esophagus. DGL has antispasmodic action, which means that it helps to control various muscle actions that can affect your digestive tract. It also helps reduce acid reflux by calming a cramping stomach. A chewable form is best. Chew one to two tablets and let them dissolve in your mouth. You can also do this before your meal if you know that you are going to indulge.
5. Ginger: Keep ginger candy on hand. Ginger relaxes the smooth muscle along the walls of the esophagus and improves overall digestion. Chew a small amount slowly and see how you feel. If you still have heartburn after 10 minutes, take another small piece and chew again. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to avoid this because ginger packs a lot of heat.
6. GI Support: Get ahead of holiday GI issues and try a supplement that can support overall good digestive health. Pathway GI Optimal Support provides comprehensive support for gastrointestinal health and function. The lining of the gut must have proper permeability and integrity so it can not only absorb nutrients, but also prevent toxins, allergens and microbes from gaining access to the blood stream. Maintaining gut health is the key to promoting overall wellness. GI Optimal Support is also available in a powder form.
Aside from the supplements, here are some other tips to help you avoid indigestion after that big meal.
- Eat slowly.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption – besides being high in calories, it can irritate the stomach lining.
- Wear loose-fitting garments to avoid compressing your stomach, sending food back into the esophagus.
- Don’t lie down right after you eat. Instead go for a walk. One study showed that heading out for a brief walk, instead of the couch, about 15 minutes after a meal may improve digestion and blood sugar control.
- Wait at least 3 hours after consuming a big meal before you go to bed.
Photo from here, with thanks.