Beware of dyspepsia at Christmas

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We are not talking about a new Christmas sweet treat imported from other countries. The dreaded dyspepsia, more commonly known as indigestion, is one of the greatest threats to our health at this time of year, when we usually eat and drink excessively.

We know  how hard it is to resist traditional Christmas meals, in which we usually find a vast display of cold meats, seafood, foods that are very salty or have a high fat content, high grade alcoholic beverages and sweets.

Sometimes this unhealthy food and drink “cocktail” may lead us to experience sluggish digestion. But other times it may be too heavy a concoction for our body, leading to severe indigestion.

The undesirable symptoms of indigestion

Dyspepsia is characterised by discomfort in the upper abdominal area during meals or in the hours that follow. The symptoms of dyspepsia might include:

  • Bloating and accumulated gas.
  • Pain and heartburn in the area between the lower part of our sternum and the navel.
  • Unpleasant feeling of fullness, which we may begin to experience even before the end of the meal.
  • The occurrence of nausea is also possible, though less common.

If these problems continue well after our Christmas dietary excesses are over, they could be linked to functional alterations of the large intestine or the colon. If the intensity of the pain is such as to disrupt our night’s rest for weeks or months, and we also have other symptoms –for instance, vomiting, weight loss and overall deterioration of our health- then we must pay a visit to our doctor.

We must keep an eye on the frequency of these symptoms, especially if we are over 40 years of age, since this is when the chance of suffering from some serious organic diseases becomes higher.

A few tips to enjoy healthier Christmas meals 

  • The first and most important piece of advice is that we should try to control the amount of food we eat.
  • We should incorporate fresh fruit into our diet:
  • ripe bananas act as a natural antacid;
    • papayas and pineapples respectively contain papain and bromelain, which are two enzymes that aid the digestion of proteins.

• In addition to the usual drugs that help digestion, which we should really avoid, the best “treatment” after a heavy Christmas meal is to replace spirits (cider or champagne) with herbal tea. Chamomile, pennyroyal or linden flower protect the digestive system, balance the production of gastric juices and reduce the formation of gas.

At Best Doctors we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas holiday. We encourage you to follow the specific instructions from your doctor so that the festivities do not end up taking a toll on your body. 

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