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Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year, new you! Follow our tips to get your body back on track in 2015

It's that time of year when our usual healthy habits have slipped by the wayside. Gym visits slide, bank balances dwindle and with all the tempting festive treats on offer, the amount of heavy, rich food we consume invariably skyrockets. But weeks of eating and drinking too much throughout December are likely to leave you feeling anything but jolly.
According to a recent survey by Gaviscon, more than half of us say this is the time of the year when we are most likely to overindulge. So it's no surprise that many of us can be left suffering from heartburn and indigestion as a result of hitting the mince pies too hard.
Many of us suffer from digestive discomfort over the Christmas period because of the sheer quantity and type of food we have eaten.
Festive foods are typically fatty and that means they take longer to digest than other foods as they spend longer in the stomach. All that food then produces a bigger than normal feast for the bacteria in the gut which results in excess wind. Many people also drink large quantities of alcohol which can inflame the stomach.
The Gaviscon poll also revealed that although six in 10 of us have experienced heartburn and indigestion, over a third don't know the difference between the two.
After a big meal there will be a lot of waste stuck in the colon which can make you feel very heavy and bloated
Burning chest pain and a bitter taste in the mouth can be signs of heartburn, also known as acid reflux, which if you have never experienced them before can be frightening and come on suddenly.
Heartburn is caused by the acid found in stomach juices which breaks down food. Tucking into large, rich meals, eating too quickly and irregular eating patterns can all cause excess acid to be produced. And when it leaks acid back up into the oesophagus, it causes heartburn.
Indulging in heavy meals, mulled wine and calorie-laden desserts can also lead to indigestion. This usually occurs after eating or drinking and is caused by powerful hydrochloric acid found in stomach juices coming into contact with the sensitive, protective lining of other parts of the digestive system.
The acid breaks down the lining, causing inflammation which leads to an extremely painful stomach. Some people suffer belching, trapped wind or may feel bloated. It can even cause nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
Stress can also be a factor, as can going to bed soon after a heavy meal, wearing tight clothing or heavy lifting as the excess pressure on the stomach can cause the naturally acidic stomach juices to rise up into the chest.
If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, your risk of getting heartburn will be even higher.
So if you are still feeling fuller than Santa's sack, it might be time to try some of these tips to help relieve the discomfort:
• Try starting the day with a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon as hot water helps to stimulate the digestive process.
After a big meal there will be a lot of waste stuck in the colon which can make you feel very heavy and bloated. Warm water will help to dilute the waste and push it through the system.Tea and coffee will only make the problem worse as diuretic substances can increase bloating as they encourage the cells of the body to hang on to any available water.
Coffee can also contribute to the production of gas in the digestive tract and can irritate the oesophagus.
• Eating little and often will actually help reduce any bloating and tenderness whereas starving yourself can make symptoms worse.
Eating small, light meals will help shunt everything along through the digestive tract which helps get rid of that bulky feeling. The stomach is continually producing gastric acid and without food the acid levels rise which can lead to indigestion. Eating helps mop up some of that acid.
After all the excess of rich food and alcohol the lining of the digestive tract might be slightly inflamed. But eating helps to start the repair process in the digestive tract wall which will help ease any inflammation and tenderness.
Avoid having a big meal and try eating three or four light snacks throughout the day instead. A breakfast of porridge or poached eggs on toast will help produce a steady release of energy so will keep you going until lunchtime.
Smoothies made from bananas or pineapples, which are thought to aid digestion, are also a good choice. For dinner try soup and a sandwich. Snack on fresh fruit rather than dried fruit which can cause excessive wind and is higher in calories.
• Gentle exercise improves the metabolic rate and helps move waste matter through the gut.
Do not do anything too strenuous as this will take blood and energy away from the digestive system and have the opposite effect. A walk of between 30 and 60 minutes is ideal.

Five ways you can fight it

TAKE AN ANTACID
Gaviscon Double Action Liquid (£7.90 for 300ml) quickly neutralises excess stomach acid and forms a raft over the stomach contents which helps prevent acid coming back up into the oesophagus. It is suitable for use in pregnancy.
SIP HERBAL TEA
Drinking camomile, peppermint or ginger tea between meals is believed to help relieve indigestion by soothing the digestive tract and helping with digestion.
CHEW FENNEL OR CARAWAY SEEDS
Chewing and swallowing a spoonful of fennel or caraway seeds is another traditional remedy for indigestion. Both seeds contain oils that relieve gut spasms, prevent nausea and control flatulence. You can also make your own fennel tea by mixing a few teaspoons of crushed seeds with boiling water.
GRAB AN EXTRA PILLOW
Heartburn is often worse at night when you are lying flat. Gravity allows burning juices to flow back up the oesophagus. Avoid eating for three to four hours before bedtime. A couple of pillows propped under your head can help prevent stomach acid from rising back up the gullet.
TRY BAKING SODA
A lot of people think milk is the cure for indigestion. It may feel nice and cool going down but milk actually contains fats and proteins that will cause the stomach to secrete more acid and make indigestion worse.
Instead try a large glass of cold water with a teaspoon of baking soda or Alka Seltzer dissolved in it to neutralise the acid.

More than half of us say that this is the time of year when most of us are likely to overindulge




Source:express.co.uk/life-style/health/549370/Top-tips-to-get-New-Years-body-on-track

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