The excesses of the festive season can be hard on the gastrointestinal system of even the healthiest of people. For those with underlying gut issues, such as IBS, the post-Christmas period can bring heightened levels of discomfort and renewed commitment to restoring their digestive health. Reducing inflammation and rebalancing gut flora will help to alleviate bloating and restore regularity.
- Easy does it
A simple diet of soft, easily digested, mostly cooked foods is a simple way to take the pressure off your system and much less daunting than any restrictive ‘detox’ or cleanse you might be tempted to embark on. Using digestive supplements can also help to restore balance.
- Digestive aid
Digestive enzymes may help to reduce bloating and other symptoms of poor digestion. Those containing alpha galactosidase are particularly beneficial for gas and bloating because they aiding digestion of galactans, the gas-forming polysaccharide found in legumes and cruciferous vegetables.
- Good bugs
Research has shown that probiotics can help to keep your digestion healthy. In addition to a daily probiotic, try fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir as they are full of natural probiotic bacteria too.
- Calming herbs
Historically, herbs and spices have been used to restore digestive balance and modern research attests to these benefits. Ginger is perhaps one of the best known botanicals for supporting digestive health. Several controlled studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ginger as an anti-emetic. It exerts a carminative effect, which helps to break up and expel intestinal gas and in turn may help with nausea and bloating associated with over eating.
Cardamom and turmeric are from the same family as ginger and are also supportive for alleviating digestive distress. Fennel contains anethole, a compound which has been found to reduce smooth muscle spasm and act as a carminative. All of these herbs and spices can be used in cooking or as teas, or as dietary supplements.
- Relax, and enjoy
Finally, take time to relax and recharge over the festive season because stress can cause digestive symptoms. This is the perfect time to de-stress and enjoy yourself, your digestion will thank you for it.