Christmas is all about bubbles and love in my house. I take great joy in letting go of work and stresses to relax and enjoy time with loved ones. Unfortunatley this can bring out the lazy side in many of us, we can overindulge and personally, when I snack a lot, I'm prone to bloatedness.
Bloating is a sensation that makes the abdomen feel larger then normal. Exsess interstinal gas can cause this feeling and boy, I know how that feels. My tummy blows up like a balloon and it is so uncomfortable. Gone are the days when I used to be able to eat anything and everything – boo!
Anyway, having been through the ills of a sore bloated tummy, there are things you can do to aid digestion which are ideal to add to your festive mix.
Here are my top 7 ingredients for a tasty and comfortable Christmas:
Peppermint, spearmint and even basil can help reduce bloating. Try a peppermint tea or chewing a mint leaf after dinner. For Christmas, these mint leaves covered with white chocolate are delicious and ideal for a post-dinner treat.
In India after most meals, people will chew on fennel seeds because it’s an age old ritual that aids digestion and acts as a breath freshener too. I suppose it’s the same thing as having a Pernod aperitif in France before your meal. Fennel is known to stimulate the pancreas to get those enzymes flowing that help your body to digest food more effectively. Boil some seeds in water, strain and drink. You can add honey too. In many Indian restaurants, you are offered sugar coated seeds – these are usually a mixture of a fennel and cumin.
This is a mega stomach soother. It’s great in tea or chai, or even in a soup. Ginger tea is a very effective way to wake up a slow, sluggish digestive system in the morning. Try my ginger tea for the ultimate soothing tonic.
Some studies have shown that turmeric reduces the symptoms of bloating. You can make warm turmeric milk with a little honey and drink this daily to help aid digestion. Sprinkle it on your vegetables or better still, have a simple dhal to help.
These are known to have a cooling effect on the body in Ayurvedic medicine so are great if you suffer from occasional hearburn. It is a natural carminative so it relieves gas from the internastical tract. You can chew the seeds or make a little corander and water tonic by boiling 1tsp of seeds in 1 cup of water. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, strain and drink. Or try something light like this coriander fish dish.
Cardamom is a love it or hate it spice but when you cook with it, it’s known to neutralise the stimulating effects of caffiene which is why you always find it in Indian chai. By reducing the acidity of your food, it helps to reduce gas and bloating in the tummy and small intestine too. My banana and cardamom lassi is not only delicious, it's cooling too which is sometimes just what you need after lots or rich food.
This is the most commonly used spice in Indian cooking and in sanskrit translates to ‘promoting digestion’. Cumin aids digestion by promoting healthy absorption of nutrients through aiding enzyme production. It is also known to rid the body of natural toxins too. I love this cooling cumin soda water as the mint triggers the body's cooling system, while the salt rehydrates and the sugar provides energy.
You all know that I am totally anti-fad diet and a firm beliver in 'a little bit of what you love does you good', but we can struggle sometimes; especially over the festive period. My advice is to enjoy yourself, indulge a little, relax but stay healthy and balanced with a few light and refreshing teas, tonics and meals that will do your body and mind some good. And as always make the most of those left overs with my curry kits so you don’t spend a fortune on spices.
Above all, enjoy your family and make the most of the holiday season with a happy tummy too – enjoy!Back to Blog