Indigestion is a common problem which most people experience at some point. It’s usually not the sign of anything serious and often comes after eating too much, too quickly or eating certain foods. Foods such as beans, onions, broccoli and cauliflower are known to induce bloating, excess wind and sometimes abdominal pain because they’re more difficult to digest. So what can you do to relieve these symptoms?
Avoiding bloat-inducing foods is one way, but scientists have also found other foods to be effective.
Turmeric, a popular spice in Indian cooking, is traditional Ayurvedic medicine and has long been praised for its health and wellbeing benefits, according to Holland & Barrett.
Among its qualities it’s been proven to ease digestion problems, which can mainly be attributed to its curcumin content.
The high street health store says: “Curcumin can help support gut health, including relieving excess gas, abdominal pain and bloating.
“A 2013 trial by the University of Nottingham found cur cumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, an essential substance needed to break down fat in foods.”
Turmeric can be enjoyed in a number of foods but is also available as a supplement.
There is no reference nutrient intake (RNI) for turmeric so you should always refer to the dosage stated on the label.
The World Health Organisation advises to take 3mg per kg of bodyweight of curcminoids, which includes curcumin.
Peppermint oil is also recommended to beat digestive problems like bloating by Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan.
The oil improves digestion and relieve bloating by increasing gastric emptying, stimulating secretion of digestive juices and bile, said Dr Brewer.
She added: “It also has a relaxing effect on the intestinal tract to relieve spasm. Peppermint is therefore taken to relieve bloating, indigestion, intestinal cramps, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome.
“The results from 12 clinical trials, involving almost 600 people, explored the effectiveness of peppermint oil, fibre or antispasmodic drugs (eg mebeverine, hyoscine, otilonium bromide) in treating IBS.
“The number needed to prevent one patient having persistent symptoms was 11 for fibre, 5 for antispasmodics, and 2.5 for peppermint oil, making it the most effective treatment.”
You can drink peppermint tea as required, or take a peppermint capsule (100mg) per day.
Extracts of globe artichoke can also stimulate bile production and can quickly relieve bloating without side effects.
It is also helpful when bloating and indigestion are due to overly spicy food or drinking alcohol.