Holiday Health Hazards
Holiday hazard: INDIGESTION Celebrating the season often revolves around eating large quantities of rich foods, resulting in gas, bloating, reflux (heartburn) and other gastrointestinal problems. Overindulging in alcohol and simple carbs (more dessert, anyone?) can compound symptoms.
To the rescue
Exercise gently to stimulate digestion.
Fennel seeds may combat gas and bloating, says Russell Greenfield, M.D., an integrative medicine physician in Charlotte, N.C.; after a meal, chew two to five seeds thoroughly and swallow.
Ginger can quell nausea and indigestion.
Try: candied ginger; ginger in capsules (250 to 500 milligrams); 1∕4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1∕8 teaspoon powdered ginger mixed with a little honey or agave syrup (take straight or mix into water, juice or tea); ginger tea (steep 1 teaspoon fresh grated or chopped ginger in water, covered, for five minutes and strain).
Try: Solaray Ginger Root Extract ($11 for 60 250-milligram capsules; amazon.com) or New Chapter Organics Digestion Ginger Honey Tonic ($7 for 4 ounces; healthsuperstore.com). To ease stomach cramps, McQuade Crawford recommends combining 1∕2 teaspoon dried cinnamon bark and 1 teaspoon chamomile flowers; steep for five to 15 minutes and strain. Peppermint tea (two teabags per cup) is another good choice unless you have reflux (peppermint can worsen it).
Try: Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint Tea ($5; traditionalmedicinals.com). You can also chew peppermint sprigs or suck on peppermint candy. Unless you have underlying issues, such as chronic reflux or an ulcer, digestive enzymes can help relieve symptoms, Barnes says; follow package instructions.
Try: Nature’s Plus Digestive Enzyme ($11 for 90; vitaminshoppe.com).
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