Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Overindulging on food and drink is common during the holidays. Unfortunately, it often results in stomach discomfort, heartburn, gas, bloating, burping, or nausea—in other words, indigestion. Here are some must-have antidotes to have on hand:
The healthy digestive system includes a population of both “good” and “bad” bacteria that live in symbiotic harmony with each other. The “bad” bacteria in the gut feed on sugars and carbs. So a holiday season full of baked treats and sweets, stuffing, and eggnog is a feast for these bacteria, and they reproduce and over-populate the gut, leading to an imbalance that can cause digestive strife. Taking a probiotic supplement can help to counteract/offset this imbalance.
Causes of indigestion include food intolerances (such as to gluten or dairy) and incompletely digested foods, and taking digestive enzymes can help: Amylase supports carbohydrate digestion; lipase helps to digest fats; protease helps to break down protein; lactase helps to digest lactose in dairy products; and cellulose aids in fiber digestion.
Herbs such as slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) can ease a range of digestive discomforts. Slippery elm is an age-old digestive tonic. It soothes irritated mucous membranes, such as those that line the esophagus, so it often taken for heartburn, and it reduces inflammation of the intestinal tract. Ginger is a soothing herb. It can be used to ease indigestion and reduce gas, bloating, and flatulence. Try adding fresh ginger to your meals or have an after-dinner cup of ginger tea.
Jennifer Martin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
ENZYMEDICA DIGEST GOLD + PROBIOTICS combines an award-winning digestive enzyme formula with probiotics that are specially coated to ensure delivery of healthy bacteria to the digestive tract.
ARTHUR ANDREW MEDICAL DEVIGEST ADS reduces gas, bloating, and digestive discomfort with a range of digestive enzymes that assist in the digestion of gluten, protein, dairy, and sugars.
ORGANIC INDIA TULSI LEMON GINGER TEA is a spicy blend of ginger and lemongrass that soothes with every sip.