With the festivities fast approaching, temptation seems to lurk around every corner in the form of canapés, mince pies, rich puddings and alcohol.
Yet, for many, indulgence comes at a price… digestive discomfort caused by indigestion can result in heartburn, a build-up of gas, nausea, painful cramps and bloating.
Before you reach for an over-the-counter indigestion remedy like Tums, Alka-Seltzer or Zantac you should bear in mind that, while they may offer short-term relief, these drugs can make the problem worse. They block the production of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile, all of which are needed for the digestion of foods such as proteins and fats.
Not only can this shift in pH make your food harder to digest, but in an attempt to compensate for the imbalance your body responds by producing even more gastric acid. Even when the antacid is no longer in your system, the stomach cells are still working overtime, making more acid than your stomach needs. The scale is out of balance, and before you know it you’ve got indigestion again.
Fortunately, there are safe and effective natural alternatives that can alleviate the misery of indigestion. A simple way to get relief is to have a cup of ginger tea. Ginger benefits the digestive system – it tones the intestinal muscles and has an antispasmodic effect – and can provide relief from stomach aches, diarrhoea and nausea. It may also protect the stomach from the damaging effects of alcohol.
Camomile and peppermint tea are two other good options. Peppermint, in particular, has a powerful relaxing effect on the muscles of the intestines, which prevents them going into spasm without the side effects associated with conventional antispasmodic drugs. It encourages the production of digestive juices and bile and has traditionally been used to treat dyspepsia, flatulence, colic and diarrhoea.
Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules, which are able to survive harsh stomach acid, have proven benefits for the gastrointestinal system. Peppermint oil has an antibacterial action and has been shown to clear up an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
The ‘friendly’ bacteria that perform normal, essential functions in the large intestine can cause problems of bloating and gas when they migrate into the small intestine. The recommended dosage is three capsules of enteric-coated peppermint oil a day, between meals.
Taking a good quality enzyme supplement, like E3 Enzymes Supreme, can also help end your digestive woes. Indigestion and heartburn become more common with age, as your ability to produce enzymes gradually decreases.
To make matters worse, most people’s diets contain mainly cooked and processed foods, which means your body is forced to produce far more digestive enzymes than it was ever designed to do. Each capsule contains a combination of plant-based enzymes (including bromelain and papain), which are needed to digest your food thoroughly and properly; together with other plant-derived digestive aids, such as rutin and alma berry (Indian gooseberry).
It is specially designed to work not only in the stomach but throughout the entire digestive tract, too. The recommended dosage for E3 Enzymes Supreme is one capsule taken before each meal.
Enjoy an indigestion-free festive season!
Here's to your good health,
Journal Of Natural Health Solutions
Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
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Altern Med Rev 2002; 7(5): 410-417