The holiday season brings its share of fun-filled gatherings and good cheer, but all that celebrating may take its toll on your digestive system leaving you feeling bloated, too full and just plain miserable.
Fear not! There are a number of natural remedies to help set your system straight after a night (or several) of overindulgence. Here are a few we recommend.
Ginger has been used medicinally for centuries, particularly for treating gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Studies have shown that ginger accelerates the process of moving food from your stomach through your digestive system. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, which can help with the feelings of burning or discomfort that often come with overeating.
Drink a cup of ginger tea or try a ginger root extract supplement.
A Daily Probiotic
There’s yet another reason to start taking a daily probiotic: These good bacteria keep the bad bacteria from growing, but a new study published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology also found that probiotics were effective in treating dyspepsia — otherwise known as an upset stomach.
The study subjects consumed Lactobacillus gasseri-containing yogurt every day for 12 weeks. A supplement with this strain should also do the trick.
Artichoke Leaf Extract (ALE)
You don’t have to be an artichoke fan to reap the benefits of this natural remedy.
Extracts from the leaves of the artichoke plant are known to help lower “bad” cholesterol. A German study also found that ALE helps soothe symptoms of indigestion. The study subjects who were randomized to the ALE group reported a 15 percent improvement in symptoms, including flatulence and fullness. Study participants took 640 milligrams of ALE daily.
B vitamins play an essential role in converting our food to fuel, so it makes sense that they would also play a role in digestion.
A 2006 study on subjects who experienced gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) such as heartburn and chest pain found that all of the subjects who took a supplement containing vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid reported fewer GERD symptoms after 40 days of treatment.
A few tips to prevent indigestion from occurring:
- Eat smaller meals
- Eat more slowly
- Avoid spicy foods if you know they trigger indigestion
- Don’t eat late at night
- Avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol.
Karen Morse, MPH, is a freelance health and nutrition writer. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, exploring nearby hiking trails and cooking up fresh, seasonal eats in the kitchen. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Weight Watchers, YouBeauty.com and others.