Best supplements to take for indigestion during the festive period

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Indigestion can be triggered by various factors, including alcohol, caffeine and processed snacks (Image: GETTY)

But certain supplements could help you manage symptoms, ensuring you enjoy the festive season to its fullest.

Indigestion often manifests as upper abdominal discomfort following a meal, leading to symptoms like bloating, excessive gas, burping, and nausea. Linked to indigestion is heartburn, which can cause a burning feeling in the chest and throat due to the upward movement of stomach acid into the oesophagus, a condition also known as ‘reflux’.

Indigestion can be triggered by various factors, including alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, processed snacks, and foods rich in saturated fats, all of which are commonly consumed during the festive period. But they are slower to digest and increase stomach acid production.

Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut, play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of gut microbiota. An imbalance can lead to digestive problems that aggravate indigestion.

Probiotics have been found to aid in nutrient breakdown and absorption in the gut. Specific strains, such as lactobacillus bulgaricus, are effective in lactose digestion, while others like lactobacillus acidophilus may alleviate bloating by restoring bacterial balance in the gut.

READ MORE The supplement to ‘start with’ if you want to lower your cholesterol

Aloe vera plant cut open

Aloe vera, an ingredient used for heartburn relief, offers protection against gastric acids (Image: GETTY)

Moreover, these beneficial bacteria fortify the gut lining, enhancing its integrity, which can help reduce symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.

During the festive season, having natural remedies for heartburn on hand can be beneficial. These remedies typically contain ingredients that neutralise stomach acid, thereby easing reflux and heartburn.

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly found in these remedies, reacts with stomach acidity, forming a barrier to prevent acid reflux and has been shown to be effective at helping to relieve the condition.

Aloe vera, another ingredient used for heartburn relief, coats the stomach and oesophageal linings, offering protection against gastric acids.

Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist, said: “Heartburn is a big issue for many people during Christmas which is a direct result of overindulgence but there are natural alternatives that can offer relief such as Healthspan Gastrisoothe (24 sachets for £14.95).”

Other health challenges that can occur during the festive period are disrupted sleep patterns and liver stress due to rich foods and increased alcohol consumption, and certain supplements can help with these problems too.

Artichoke extract supplements

Artichoke extract is a naturally derived remedy known for its liver-protective qualities (Image: GETTY)

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Tart cherry and valerian root could help with restful sleep

One in five people are struggling with sleep. Research by Mental Health UK said one of the reasons for lack of sleep is money worries, with 25 percent of people citing this as one of the main causes for lack of sleep and the additional financial stresses at Christmas compound this.

Several clinical studies have suggested that cherries can improve sleep and melatonin levels – the consumption of cherry juice for seven days significantly increased melatonin levels and improved sleep measures including time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency, compared to placebo.

Artichoke extract could help support liver health

During the festive season, our liver health can be notably affected by changes in diet and lifestyle. The period is often marked by increased alcohol consumption and indulgence in rich, fatty foods, both of which can place additional strain on the liver. This dietary shift can hinder the liver’s normal functioning.

Moreover, the holiday season often brings added stress due to financial concerns, complex family interactions, and hectic schedules. Chronic stress, in turn, can indirectly influence liver health, potentially aggravating conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Artichoke extract is a naturally derived remedy known for its liver-protective qualities and has been found to aid in stimulating bile production and flow, essential for the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the small intestine.

By increasing bile production, it assists in removing harmful substances from the body, thereby easing the liver’s workload.

Someone holding magnesium supplements in their hand

Magnesium plays a crucial role in managing stress as it regulates neurotransmitters (Image: GETTY)

Magnesium could help with stress

The festive season, while joyful for many, can also be a source of significant stress. Financial concerns are often at the forefront, as the expenses of gifts, decorations, food, and travel can weigh heavily on one’s mind, leading to worries about financial stability.

Additionally, family interactions can be a source of tension, whether due to potential conflicts or the emotional strain of missing loved ones. For some, the overindulgence typical of the holiday season, such as consuming too much alcohol, straying from regular exercise routines, or concerns about weight gain, can result in feelings of lethargy and guilt.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in managing stress as it regulates neurotransmitters, which are responsible for sending signals throughout the body. This mineral is particularly important in the regulation of serotonin, a hormone that significantly impacts mood.

Additionally, magnesium is involved in controlling cortisol release; high levels of this ‘stress hormone’ are associated with various health issues, including anxiety. Stress can also lead to a faster depletion of magnesium in the body, and conversely, low levels of magnesium can exacerbate anxiety, potentially leading to a cycle of stress and anxiety.

Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist, said: “During times of high stress, such as the festive season, taking a magnesium supplement might be beneficial to help regulate stress responses, avoid deficiency caused by increased losses and maintain a sense of balance. Try Healthspan Opti Magnesium, £13.45 for 90 tablets).”

For warding off coughs and colds

In the UK, it is reported that on average 175 million cough and cold episodes occur annually, with 20 percent of people contacting over-burdened NHS services and GPs for help.

Dr Tom Jenkins, an NHS GP, said: “It’s important to find a way to help reduce the severity and duration of patients’ symptoms without prescribing antibiotics. In searching for an alternative treatment option, I came across the NICE Guideline recommendations for pelargonium, which has impressive pre-clinical and clinical anti-viral research, as well as evidence of its traditional use to relieve upper respiratory tract infection symptoms.”

There are 27 peer reviewed published clinical trials investigating the benefits of pelargonium extract, it has a well-researched and documented history of use and, along with clinical studies, it has been shown to relieve symptoms of viral mediated respiratory infections.

Centoreze is a traditional herbal pelargonium medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections including common cold, such as sore throat, cough and blocked or runny nose, based on traditional use only.

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