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6 steps to stop that festive season indigestion naturally

6 steps to stop that festive season indigestion naturally

6 steps to stop that festive season indigestion naturally

Indigestion and the festive season often go hand-in-hand. Here’s are some things you can do to help relieve the burn.

If you can’t say no to another helping of Christmas ham or pavlova, chances are you may experience some indigestion this festive season. Indigestion is a not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, or excessive gas or belching. While indigestion is common, severe symptoms should not be ignored.

Improper diet, overeating, hurried meals, strong spices, stress, digestive enzyme deficiency and hydrochloric acid deficiency are among the main culprits for indigestion. Other factors that can lead to indigestion include lying down too soon after eating, smoking, alcohol, food allergy, constipation, smoking, pregnancy, hiatus hernia, gall bladder disease and lack of exercise.

It’s important not to ignore indigestion, as it can lead to serious illness. What you eat and how you eat are important considerations when it comes to indigestion. Over-consumption of refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, cakes and biscuits) and fatty foods impedes digestion, which causes the uncomfortable symptoms of indigestion. Strong spices and salt can irritate the stomach, causing excess acid. Other irritants include sugar, pepper, curries, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol. Excessively hot or cold foods can also irritate the stomach lining, leading to poor digestion.

If you eat excessively large meals, your stomach may not be able to produce enough enzymes to fully break down all the food; some can pass into the small intestine, where it ferments and causes bloating and gas. If you eat too frequently, this can also happen before the last meal has been completely digested. Gulping down your food and not chewing properly can also slow down digestion because the food chunks are too big for the enzymes to break them down properly. Eating when stressed can also lead to indigestion, as stressful emotions cause the nervous system to shut down the digestive system in preparation for what it interprets as an emergency situation.

Many people in the 50+ age group suffer from indigestion because of hydrochloric acid deficiency. This common problem causes gas, bloating, poor digestion and malabsorption of most minerals and some vitamins. Though most people assume they have too much stomach acid when they have heartburn, the opposite is more frequently true. It’s therefore important to have heartburn properly diagnosed and treated, as hydrochloric acid deficiency is also associated with a range of diseases such as hypothyroidism, asthma, arthritis and eczema.

Natural relief

As well as seeing your healthcare practitioner, there are some things you can do to help relieve or prevent mild indigestion.

  • Swedish bitters have traditionally been used internally to relieve the symptoms of indigestion and is ideal after a rich, heavy meal.
  • Probiotics encourage healthy digestion by maintaining the “friendly” bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Have a cup of peppermint or ginger tea after meals to aid digestion.
  • Eat plenty of alkaline foods such as leafy green vegetables.
  • Don’t drink too much liquid with your meals as they can dilute digestive juices.
  • Don’t go to bed with a full stomach.
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