over-eating-blues

Beat overindulgence and an uncomfortable stomach

It’s
that time of the year again for office parties, festive gatherings
and Christmas. We over-eat so much that our bodies beg us to stop. We
ignore all the signs till a sharp unforgiving pain in the gut jolts
us to our senses.

At New Year festivities, company dinners and dances we overeat, overdrink, talk and eat, laugh and drink, and shout cheers with cake and champagne in our mouths. We dance with full stomachs, dressed in belly-strangling haute couture. Just a few weeks ago we were stressed out getting presents on time and for the right people; fighting crowds and last-minute shoppers.

All
this stress, binging, alcohol, gulping in air, wearing tight clothes
and dancing with full stomachs, do no favours to your system. You
feel bloated and nauseated. Apart from the hangover from the over
drinking, you are suffering from a bad case of indigestion.

What
is indigestion?

Too much stomach acid causes stomach pains, bloating, excess wind, belching or heartburn. Indigestion is the general term used to describe these symptoms.

To protect itself from the stomach acid, which is as corrosive as car battery fluid, the stomach produces a mucous that lines its inside. If the amount of acid is too much for the mucous to contain, the stomach lining gets inflamed. This results in the pain and discomfort felt as indigestion.

Heartburn or reflux oesophagitis is a form of indigestion. Excess acid gets forced back from the stomach into the food gullet (oesophagus) which, unlike the stomach, doesn’t have a mucous lining. You feel burning in your chest and you have an acid taste at the back of your throat. The pain can be so bad you might think you’re having a heart attack.

What
causes acid?

Rich,
fatty and spicy food such as chocolates, pickles, curries, sauces,
stuffing, mince pies, and puddings and cake, all contribute to acid
build up in the stomach. Add to this alcohol, smoking and stress.

12
ways of preventing indigestion

Indigestion
and its symptoms can often be prevented or at least minimised by
following a few, standard guidelines.

1.
Never smoke before or while eating.

Smoking
often causes you to swallow small amounts of air, which form air
pockets in the digestive tract with the added pressure of food.
Smoking also slows the body’s ability to digest food

2.
Eliminate certain gas forming foods such as beans, cabbage, cucumbers
and onions

3.
Eat at a table in an upright, sitting position

4.
Go for a small walk after eating, which will help stimulate the
digestive system

5.
Don’t chew with your mouth open and don’t talk so much during
meals, which cause you to swallow air.

6.
Never exercise or dance following a large meal

7.
Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing

8.
Chew food thoroughly and slowly, allowing for a leisurely meal

9.
Try not to consume alcohol with food. Drink plenty of water instead

10.
Avoid caffeine

11.
Add antacids to your Christmas shopping. Antacids neutralise excess
stomach acid and help relieve indigestion

12.
Eat at least a few hours before going to bed to ensure a silent night

Remedy
for relief

If
you don’t want to be branded a party pooper there are a number of
ways to relieve indigestion.

Ginger

Many
find that consuming ginger with a meal helps to reduce suffering and
stomach upset. Fresh ginger can be ground and added to foods or taken
in tea or capsule form. Herbalists recommend consuming 500mg of
ginger with a full glass of water after each meal.

Enzymes

Enzymes
which help to speed the digestive process often eliminate heartburn
altogether. Papaya enzymes are sold in chewable capsule form, and are
taken immediately following a meal with a full glass of water. Enjoy
the fruit itself for dessert.

Fibre

Consuming more fibre nutrient foods is another natural way to alleviate future suffering. Bulk foods help to absorb excess acid and gas, and allow your body to rid itself of toxins more quickly. For those who respond poorly to high fibre vegetables, fibre pills and beverages are an alternative.

Herbal
infusions

Herbal
teas containing even trace amounts of peppermint, chamomile, ginger,
rosemary, licorice root or catnip help the stomach lining repair
itself. Often, one cup of herbal infusion following a meal is enough
to keep heartburn and indigestion at bay.

Recipes

Peppermint
Yoghurt and Papaya

Serves
2

3
1/2 tbs fresh peppermint leaves, ground

4
to 8 tbs plain yoghurt

1
ripe papaya, peeled and cubed

Mix
the ground peppermint into the yoghurt. Serve a few papaya cubes and
a dollop of peppermint yoghurt in individual bowls. Serve cold.

Pear
and Ginger Soup

Serves
2

1
Chinese pear, do not peel

15g
fresh ginger

3
cups water, boiling

Rock
sugar to taste

Cut
pear into halves on the cross section and remove core. Place pears
into a pot and pour in the boiling water. Add the ginger. Place the
pot with the ingredients into a steamer and steam for 20 minutes. Add
sugar. Serve warm.

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