Between end of year functions, last minute work deadlines, getting your kids through exams, or getting yourself through prize giving evenings, it’s a tough time of year to stay away from cheat meals (or drinks). It’s certainly that time of year when we tend to overdo things… So here are 9 natural remedies to help your body recover:
- Ginger: When it comes to dyspepsia relief, ginger is my favourite! It is an effective digestive aid as well as a natural remedy for nausea – perfect for when you feel bloated, constipated and/or have other gastrointestinal disorders. It relaxes the smooth muscle in your gut lining and helps food move along throughout the system. Eating whole fresh ginger, drinking fresh ginger juice and taking ginger supplements are all highly effective.
- Aloe: This gorgeous succulent is beneficial in several ways. Aloe vera gel used externally gently soothes sunburn and helps with a range of other skin irritation issues. Taken internally, aloe supports liver function and is a natural constipation relief remedy. Another aloe vera benefit is its ability to help with digestion. It is also anti-inflammatory, normalizes acid/alkaline and pH balance, lessens yeast formation, encourages digestive bacteria and regularizes bowel processing.
- Activated charcoal: Charcoal relieves digestive issues such as gas or bloating and helps your body detoxify. It can be a serious help if you get food poisoning, drink too much, suffer toxic overload, or even take too many over-the-counter remedies. On those rare occasions when you do imbibe more than you wish, or have a mild food sensitivity, activated charcoal can be a lifesaver. To get its benefits, take activated charcoal about an hour after the problem originates, before the ingested substance can do any damage.
- Probiotics: Whatever you overate likely did a number on your bacterial profile. A recent study, in fact, shows it only takes a few days to effect substantial change (about the same duration as most festive season vaycays). While our guts are amazingly adaptable, a holiday binge might not be doing it any favours. Help replenish your healthy gut environment with a good probiotic supplement and plenty of fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
- Digestive enzymes: Especially if you ate something that you don’t tolerate well, try a good quality digestive enzyme supplement. Digestive enzymes help break down protein, fibre, fat and carbs to help decrease distension of the stomach, reducing that bloated, stuffed feeling and easing digestion. The enzymes should be acid-resistant, so they work in the stomach itself, not in the small intestine.
- Magnesium is an important mineral that gets depleted by alcohol, stress and processed foods high in sodium and sugar… like during the festive season! It helps ease constipation, and relaxes you, as well as calms an upset digestive system.
- Milk thistle is probably my most favourite herb, providing protective and regenerative effects on the liver. This is one worth considering if you know that you’ll be indulging in one-too-many G&T’s this summer, as it may assist in buffering any alcohol-induced liver damage. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant that reduces inflammation of the liver.
- Vitamin B Complex: Drinking alcohol depletes your body of B Vitamins. Vitamin B3 is particularly important as it is required for the function of ADH and ALDH – two enzymes that are vital for detoxifying alcohol. Taking a multivitamin that includes B Vitamins on a daily basis is a great place to start. On days that you know you’ll be consuming alcohol, give your body a helping hand by taking an extra vitamin B complex with your lunch.
- Vitamin C: One of the things that alcohol does to the body is strip it of certain nutrients; namely, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C. Have you ever noticed that you crave orange juice after waking with a hangover? That’s your body telling you to get some vitamin C inside yourself. A good vitamin C supplement will help replenish depleted stores and help get rid of the sluggish feeling that often accompanies a hangover.
Of course have fun, but perhaps for this summer try to also be mindful of your body. Don’t just throw out all your good lifestyle habits, learn to be adaptable in every situation and truly optimise your health even during the festive season.