It is widespread to eat more than necessary. Whether we share a table with friends or family, during special celebrations or when we have one of our favourite dishes, we tend to exceed our nutritional needs. So, when we overdo it, the first thing to notice is the digestive system, which, as it is not used to it, has to make an extra effort to digest and metabolise the extra food it receives. At that time, digestion becomes heavier because the stomach is forced to secrete more acids and slower, especially if it has been gulped since it has to finish grinding the food that has not been chewed correctly. In addition, the appearance of abdominal swelling that makes us feel like a ‘balloon’ is frequent, sometimes causing pain in the abdomen, gas, heartburn, drowsiness and fatigue. Sometimes, these sensations even begin to be felt without having left the table. To avoid all these consequences of excessive gastronomic stocking, it is clear that it is advisable to moderate the quantities and eat them calmly. But if it’s too late and there’s no going back (or we don’t want there to be), some foods help minimise the damage and provide a greater degree of well-being.
Infusions of ginger, pennyroyal or chamomile
Ginger _ is not only a highly appreciated condiment in oriental cuisine but has been applied for thousands of years in medicinal treatments. In China, for example, they use it to raise body temperature and make the person who ingests it sweat, stimulating the flow and body fluids. Apart from these curiosities, the spice is an excellent digestive since it stimulates secretions, helps the absorption of nutrients and, therefore, improves poor digestion and its related problems, such as flatulence, vomiting, nausea, heaviness or Reflux. An infusion of this rhizome is the ideal preparation to help the body in its task of digesting a meal. Likewise, chamomile or pennyroyal mint tisanes are the most popular because, in addition to being pleasant to the palate and invigorating the body, they relieve the heaviness of the stomach after a gastronomic tribute. In the case of chamomile, it prevents the generation of gases in the stomach and relaxes abdominal fatness. For its part, pennyroyal reduces cramping, swelling and stomach discomfort.
With herbs, lemon, coffee, pacharán, orujo. They are the classics that are used after a hearty meal. The alcohol contained in these distillates favours the secretion of some digestive enzymes and juices, which lightens and speeds up digestion. However, for these spirits to fulfil their mission, they must have a medium or low alcohol content. Nor will it have the desired effect if other alcoholic beverages have been abused during the meal. This excess causes the opposite effect: irritation of the gastric mucosa, digestive tract disorders, Reflux, gastritis and more incredible difficulty in digestion.
Yogurt with carbonated water
Besides being a good source of calcium and protein of high biological value, this dairy contains live microorganisms. These bacteria are essential because they not only help maintain the intestinal flora’s health but also become excellent aids in digestive processes. Therefore, taking one of these probiotics after a generous meal will benefit the body and make food assimilation more bearable. On the other hand, in recent years, the unpopularity of carbonated soft drinks has increased dramatically. However, in the case of this type of carbonated water, the opposite happens. They are a healthier alternative. They have no calories and provide interesting amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They contain carbonic acid, which, in addition to being the cause of their characteristic bubbles, stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and, therefore, relieves heavy digestion. Moreover, its nutritional benefits also affect the cardiovascular system. A study carried out jointly by the Institute of Science and Technology of Food and Nutrition and the CSIC concludes that drinking half a litre of sparkling water with meals reduces the circulation of fats in the blood during the digestive process, which in turn minimises the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases.
Ice cream and citrus
Although there are several varieties of rich and refreshing ice creams, only water-based ones have digestive benefits. To be exact, it must be said that these versions are not digestive, but, being free of calcium or fat and containing between 85% and 90% water, they are lighter, they stimulate the functions of some organs involved in the process of digestive, such as the gallbladder, and therefore lighten digestion. Finally, lemons, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit are great allies of the digestive processes. These fruits are rich in citric acids, which contribute to the dissolution of food, the improvement of the absorption of nutrients, the disinfection of the digestive tract and the relief of heartburn and joint after a large intake of food.