How to look after your gut health during the silly season

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‘Tis the season to be merry, but it’s also the season for over-eating, digestive issues and hangovers. Hey, I love to indulge as much as the next person, however, there are some measures we can take to assist you to be a bit kinder to yourself.

Reducing inflammation and rebalancing gut flora will help to alleviate bloating and restore regularity. A simple diet of soft, easily digested, mostly cooked foods is easy to adhere to and much less daunting than any restrictive ‘detox’ or cleanses. Using digestive supplements can also help to restore balance.

I’m a big fan of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and cashew cheese. The health benefits of fermented foods is their contribution of live microbes to the existing colonies in the gut. A good quality daily probiotic supplement is also a must.

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. Ginger is also protective for the stomach lining and may increase the secretion of bile from the gallbladder, thereby supporting fat digestion.

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, but are also found as botanical supplements.

Finally, the importance of stress management for dealing with digestive symptoms cannot be understated.

Bloating and gas:
– A strong cup of peppermint tea should give relief quickly, especially if you walk around just after you drink it.
– A hot water compress or bottle placed directly on the abdomen quickly relieves gas pains.
– Ginger tea – add 1 drop of ginger essential oil or 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger to 1 glass of just-boiled water. Drink 3 cups of the mixture throughout the day. You can also use freshly grated ginger, steep 1 teaspoon for 10 minutes in hot water.

Heartburn (reflux):
– Honey and apple cider vinegar – mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar into a glass of hot water and drink the mixture a few times per day.
– Eat pap-paw after meals – fresh, ripe paw-paw helps digestion thanks to the potent digestive enzyme papain.
– Add fresh basil to food while cooking – it will make the food more digestible and also help prevent constipation.
– Avoid coffee, fried foods, alcohol, chocolate and spicy foods – they trigger reflux.
– Don’t lie down – the backflow of stomach acid into the oesophagus increases when you lie down (especially on your right side).

Essential oils that are crucial to have by your side are:

DigestZen, the digestive blend – known as dōTERRA’s “tummy tamer” blend due to its ability to aid in digestion, soothe occasional stomach upset, and maintain overall digestive health. This unique blend contains Ginger, Fennel, and Coriander to help ease occasional stomach discomfort, including motion sickness and indigestion, while Peppermint, Tarragon, Anise, and Caraway aid with digestion and help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. DigestZen is a healthy, natural, and gentle way to soothe an upset stomach or maintain a healthy digestive system.

  • Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
  • Internal use: Dilute two drops in half a glass of water.
  • Topical use: Dilute with Fractionated Coconut Oil and massage into abdomen in a clockwise motion.

Ginger, Fennel, Cardamom and Lemongrass. All of these essential oils can be taken internally, however, please ensure you are using certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils such as dōTERRA.

Enjoy your festive season and remember, moderation is the key!

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