Too much food, larger portions and excessive alcohol can play havoc with your digestive system, causing acid reflux, bloating and digestive upset.
To support healthy digestion, eat slowly, chew thoroughly and avoid drinking large amounts of fluid with meals. You might also wish to consider taking a supplement of digestive enzymes to support the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
There may be sweet treats in the offing, but remember that excessive sugar consumption is associated with a wide variety of health issues ranging from tooth decay to obesity and diabetes. Sugar also feeds yeasts such as candida albicans. Normally present in the gut without causing any problems, an overgrowth of candida can overwhelm the “friendly” gut flora, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, skin problems, thrush, fungal nails and digestive distress. Foods such as chicory, dark green leafy vegetables, garlic, leeks and onions all support healthy gut flora and it also makes good sense to take a daily supplement of “friendly” bacteria. Replace sugary snacks with nuts, seeds, and a little dried or fresh fruit. The mineral, chromium, helps stimulate insulin activity and may be helpful in beating sugar cravings.
To assist the body’s cleansing mechanisms include plenty of fibrous wholegrains such as oats and brown rice as well as beans and lentils. Flax seeds are high in fibre and can be sprinkled onto cereal or yoghurt to support bowel regularity. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water for good hydration and bowel function – at least 2 litres of filtered water/herbal teas a day.
Green tea, high in antioxidants, is a great alternative to caffeinated tea and coffee. Eating a “rainbow” of tasty vegetables such as sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, apples and berries not only provides fibre but also vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Taking aloe vera juice, mixed in a little water provides a naturally rich source of nutrients including vitamins, polysaccharides, minerals and enzymes. It may also assist healthy digestion by stimulating bile production and supporting beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Finally, if you do succumb to indigestion, just reach for the milk thistle, - a handy remedy for occasional over indulgence.