This Christmas I have some tips for managing digestion with over-full tummies, and some gluten-free mince pies to impress your guests (they’ll never guess!). And my sign off has some news on ‘Nutritional Therapy and Public’. Health’.

Christmas and Digestion

A common occurrence at Christmas that afflicts both hosts and visitors alike is that over-stuffed feeling that comes from over-indulgence, and for some that means acid reflux too. Now, I’m in the business of ‘prevention’, when it comes to health challenges, and whilst I can’t actually be that proverbial parrot perched on your shoulder, whispering ‘moderation’ advice in your ear, I can give you a tip – now – involving some forward planning!

If you are someone who regularly suffers indigestion or acid reflux, you’re probably already thinking antacids, ‘Rennies’, ‘Gaviscon’ etc. However, I’m going to suggest an alternative: digestive enzymes combined with Betaine, a supplementary stomach acid, or enzymes combined with probiotics, for you to take at the start of the meal, to improve digestion.

Taking antacids inhibits digestion in the stomach by altering the pH to the detriment of protein digestion. Causing food to hang around in the stomach for longer, undigested, and therefore more likely to regurgitate up the oesophagus when we lie prone. OPTIMISE and assist digestion instead with one of these:

 Betaine Plus HP 90’s provides hydrochloric acid as well as digestive enzymes:

http://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Betaine_Plus_HP_90_s-3694-0.html

Similase is a product containing just digestive enzymes: https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Similase_42_s-2466-0.html

Ecogest 90 also contains probiotics alongside the digestive enzymes, which may be useful for anyone who’s had to take antibiotics in the last year:

http://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Ecogest_90_s-5921-132.html

Digestion and Exercise

Another tip worth consideration is to take your Christmas day stroll before lunch if possible. Why? Because exercise halts parasympathetic function – which governs digestion, so a good walk straight after lunch can delay digestion, whereas ‘rest and digest’ will naturally occur if we relax after the meal.

If constipation is more your thing, drink a large glass of water half an hour before eating, then consider taking a brisk, purposeful walk a couple of hours after a big meal. Once digestion is well under way and the food has moved on into the small intestine, some exercise can improve gut transit. The increased blood flow to the gut helps the necessary muscular, peristaltic wave, to encourage contents to move along.

Gluten Free Mince Pies

Some of you may be hosting a visitor this Christmas who needs to be gluten-free. This dietary choice is on the increase causing some to question whether it is a fad diet for some. I would perhaps suggest postponing that particular argument for another time, in the Christmas spirit of good-will to all men, and making your GF guest welcome with a nce pie recipe that passes the test of my wheat-loving, gluten-consuming family members!

Scroll down to see the GF Mince Pies recipe posted last week. 

However if you want to refresh some sound arguments on whether gluten avoidance is just a fad, follow this link to an article I wrote last year:

http://www.eleanorstrangnutrition.co.uk/gluten-confusion/

Last word

Some of you may already have read my article (was it a rant?) on the potential for Nutritional Therapy to be used in the Primary Care setting, and I’m happy to report that I was invited this week to join a constructive conversation on this very subject with The Royal Society for Public Health and The Professional Standards Authority. The other participants were representatives of complementary therapies like osteopathy, hypnotherapy, and CBT practitioners, to answer questions and provide opinions to a focus group looking at how we – from accredited registers – might better contribute to improving public health. Needless to say – I had a lot to say! The report will be published in the spring, but my article on the subject written back in the summer can be read here: http://bit.ly/2abARzd

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!