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Indigestion?  Or just want to prevent it over the holidays (and every day!)  Here's some smart info by an expert, Iris E. Price Please heed these suggestions to help your digestion as published in Cynthia MacGregor's great weekly newsletter (To subscribe send an email to: EZineDoesIt@ cynthiamacgregor.com (remove space before Cynthia).

    Chew your food well, make mealtime a treat.
    A relaxing time, not a marathon feat.
    Choose your food wisely, good nutrition can't be beat.
    What you can digest and assimilate is what you should eat.

The holidays will soon be here, and each of us has our own way of observing them. No matter how we celebrate, the one thing that most holiday traditions have in common is food. Often these are special dishes that we don't normally eat at other times of the year, and with them come extra fat, extra sugar, and extra calories! The result, besides putting on a few unwanted pounds, can be indigestion.

Indigestion has many symptoms, and they can be different for each of us. Usually it goes away without treatment. However, if you regularly experience symptoms of indigestion after eating, keeping a food diary can help to identify which foods trigger your indigestion.

A word of caution: according to the American Heart Association, heart attacks, especially in women, can manifest themselves as nausea and/or indigestion. Paramedics say that too many people deny their symptoms of a heart attack by attributing it to indigestion, and by the time the paramedics get involved the damage is already done. Therefore, if you experience unexplained or sustained feelings of indigestion, a prompt medical evaluation by a licensed physician is important.

Some symptoms of indigestion can be:

  • Feelings of heaviness, bloating;
  • Dull pain, or a gnawing or burning sensation in the stomach;
  • Heartburn;
  • Flatulence, burping/reflux, nausea (vomiting).

Be pro-active to avoid indigestion. Become aware of some possible causes of indigestion and their solutions, such as:

  • Eating irregularly, too often, too fast, or too much: eat smaller, more frequent meals, instead of three large ones, especially if you have a history of indigestion.
  • Not chewing sufficiently: Chewing is the first part of the digestive process. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Eating poor food combinations: for example, dairy with citrus.
  • Drinking fluids with a meal: drink fluids before or after your meal.
  • Eating high-fat foods.
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.
  • Eating late or going to bed too soon after eating: try to eat earlier; take a walk instead of a nap.
  • Chewing with your mouth open; talking while chewing: to prevent swallowing air, chew with your mouth closed, and wait to talk until after you've swallowed your food.
  • Eating spicy foods: avoid eating food that you know contributes to your indigestion.
  • Eating when upset, anxious, or under stress: Concentrate on eating; enjoy the taste of your food. Don't argue, work, watch TV, or do tasks while eating. Try to relax during and after your meal. Many cases of indigestion are stress-related, so it's important to have a good state of mind when eating, and to be aware of your eating habits.

The following readily-available herbal remedies may help curb indigestion:

  • Chewing 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds before a meal to reduce flatulence.
  • Drinking a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea after a meal to soothe the stomach.
  • Drinking ginger tea or eating candied ginger to reduce or eliminate nausea.

Remember, preventing indigestion is easier and more comfortable than curing it after it starts.

**Note: The information in this article is presented to inform, not to prescribe, and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.**

Iris E. Price Ph.D. candidate, Botanical Medicine

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