So you have eaten all the potatoes, turkey and stuffing and you feel, well, stuffed. For many, the full-on eating holiday season has arrived. Overindulging is what we do. Unfortunately, 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. Don’t let indigestion or GI system 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.
Beyond using these natural remedies, other helpful tips to combat indigestion include taking a walk after eating, doing gentle stretching and deep breathing. Taking measures to support your digestive system on a daily basis can also help with optimal digestive health. Eating fiber rich foods, avoiding/limiting processed foods, eating slowly and mindfully, as well as taking a high-potency, multi-strain probiotic supplement such as Pathway 35 Billion Probiotic, are all great ways to promote ongoing GI wellness.
Photo from here, with thanks.