Natural digestives: what they are and why they work

When indigestion is due to large meals, several natural digestives can improve bothersome symptoms.

Sometimes it can happen that after a binge or a particularly rich meal we experience a slow and difficult digestion, which in some cases can ruin the wonderful day we had planned. However, there are some methods to digest more easily and some natural remedies to digest that can help us in these cases.

First of all, we must remember that poor digestion can depend not only on what we eat, but often on how we eat it. So be careful to chew the morsels carefully and eat slowly. Where possible, we also suggest some movement at the end of the meal or, if there is the possibility, between one meal and the next. Where these simple tricks weren’t enough, you can try some of the most effective natural digestives.

Characteristics of a digestive

A natural digestive is a food or herb that can be taken after a meal (or in some cases before a meal, preventively) and which allows you to digest immediately or in any case faster than it would have naturally. These foods, in fact, are known to improve the functionality of the gastro-digestive tract: in some cases they can improve and stimulate the production of acids by our stomach, in other cases they act on the functionality of the intestine or liver and in other cases still they decrease the intestinal fermentation of food, reducing post-prandial swelling.

We must in fact remember that the digestion process is a long process, which involves different organs present in our body: for effective digestion we want all the participating actors to perform at their best. The digestive process begins in the mouth and for this reason we have advised you to eat slowly and chew each bite carefully.

After the passage into the esophagus, the food passes into the stomach, where the production of gastric acids allows an initial digestion of proteins. In the final part of digestion, food passes from the stomach to the intestine: it will be the enzymes produced by it, together with those produced by the pancreas and the bile acids produced by the liver to complete the process started.

In conclusion, a natural digestive is a food or an active ingredient that supports, due to its characteristics, any of the digestive phases that we have just described.

10 natural remedies that help digest well

We have just seen together the characteristics of a natural digestive, we now list in this paragraph a series of natural remedies that you can use in case of difficult digestion. We want to emphasize that sometimes a single remedy is not enough and it could be useful to combine a couple of digestives with different characteristics.

1. Canary

Let’s start with the most effective digestive known to everyone because it is considered an ancient grandmother’s remedy: the canary. It is a remedy based on lemon peel and bay leaf, which are left to infuse for at least 10 minutes in boiling water. The use of lemon allows to stimulate the stomach to produce gastric acids and the addition of bay leaf allows to reduce post-prandial abdominal swelling. If you don’t have fresh bay leaves, just the lemon peel is enough. The canary is usually taken after a meal, when the symptoms of indigestion have already manifested. It is also particularly useful in case of “weight on the stomach”. It is a remedy to be prepared at home and we suggest you always choose organic lemons as in this case we will have to use the peel.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and in recent years it has been shown that, being absorbed mainly in the intestine, these effects are mainly carried out here. Furthermore, the curcumin present in turmeric has a hepatoprotective and choleretic activity, significantly stimulating the production of bile.

All these properties make turmeric a useful remedy for poor digestion, especially if it is linked to an overly seasoned or high-fat meal. However, we must underline a problem connected to the use of turmeric: it is important to point out that its bioavailability is reduced. Therefore, adding commercially available powder to dishes may not be sufficient to be effective. Similarly, several supplements on the market are also not well absorbed into our body. In this regard, we suggest you use innovative supplements, which combine turmeric with phospholipids and piperine, making the molecule more easily absorbed.

3. Ginger

Ginger is an effective digestive remedy that has been known for many years. The rhizome of this plant, which can be used both to flavor dishes and for the preparation of infusions and is consumed as it is, has multiple properties and is effective in the event of digestive problems, nausea and post-prandial swollen belly. In fact, it has been shown that ginger improves gastric motility and stomach emptying, effectively improving the second phase of digestion. As a fresh spice it can be taken without particular contraindications during or at the end of a large and very protein-rich meal. In the form of a supplement, however, it could havesome contraindications.

4. Lemon

Above we saw how to use lemon peel to digest well, but lemon deserves a separate parenthesis. Lemon is useful both for its content in polyphenols and for the presence of acids. Lemon juice can be used for example to marinate meat and fish before cooking: this step will allow a pre-digestion of the proteins contained in these foods and will make them much more digestible. Furthermore, taking hot water and lemon if you have eaten too much, allows you to digest better and increase intestinal peristalsis, improving both digestion and intestinal regularity.

Lemon juice, in fact, contributes to the production of acids by the stomach and can be useful in case of hypochlorhydria, a condition associated with a reduced production of hydrochloric acid and, therefore, with digestive difficulties. Beware of gastritis sufferers: in this case, lemon juice is not always well tolerated, especially if taken in large quantities.

5. Artichoke

The artichoke, and in particular the leaves and roots of this plant, have been shown to have hepatoprotective properties: in particular, the artichoke extract has been shown to have choleretic and biliary effects and to be able to regenerate liver cells. This extraordinary effect that the artichoke exerts on the liver explains why this plant has been used for a long time in case of digestive and intestinal problems.

6. Gentian

Gentian roots are another very effective remedy for digestive problems. Inside this plant there are in fact numerous bitter substances such as amarogentina, which stimulate digestion and the production of gastric mucus. For this reason, gentian is frequently used for the production of liqueurs, to be consumed at the end of the meal to facilitate digestion. It can also be used for the preparation of herbal teas or in mother tincture, to be taken after a meal that is too excessive and difficult to digest.

7. Cinnamon

There are numerous studies that have focused on the properties of cinnamon, a spice with many beneficial effects on our metabolism. Among the properties reported in the literature there is also that of replenishing the reduced levels of mucus at the level of the gastric walls. In addition, cinnamon has a hepatoprotective effect. To get the benefits of this spice, it is important to use “real” cinnamon and not Chinese cinnamon, which could have toxic effects. It is enough to get used to adding a teaspoon to the meal: we can use it both for the preparation of our dishes, and added to a post-prandial digestive herbal tea. In addition, cinnamon is great for lowering blood sugar.

8. Mauve

Mallow tea is another well-known remedy for counteracting digestive disorders. Mallow has in fact been shown to have emollient effects on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and to improve the functionality of the intestine, promoting regularity and facilitating digestion. Generally it is recommended to consume mallow in the form of a decoction prepared from the flowers and leaves, in order to extract all the mucilages.

9. Pineapple

Pineapple is a fruit with recognized digestive properties thanks to the presence of bromelain. This substance has an important enzymatic activity especially towards proteins and acts effectively both at acidic and alkaline pH and therefore can carry out its function both by supporting the work of the stomach and both that of the intestine and pancreas in the last stage of digestion. Consuming pineapple after or during a meal can help improve digestion of a high amount of protein. There are also bromelain-based supplements on the marketor that combine bromelain with digestive enzymes of animal origin, in order to provide digestive support for all macronutrients.

10. Papaya

Papaya contains a substance, called papain, which has been found to be very useful for digestion and intestinal regularity. The fruit is in fact normally recognized by folk medicine as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders and papain extract has been shown to have excellent effects on gastric motility. There are several papain-based supplements or enzyme complexes on the market, including papaya, which can be taken with a meal. These supplements have been shown to reduce the severity of all symptoms associated with indigestion such as fullness, belching, bloating, flatulence and post-meal discomfort. Papaya is also traditionally used to improve abdominal swelling and bowel regularity.

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