Herbfacts

8 ways to better digestion this summer

The holiday and barbecue season is here, but tummy troubles can quickly put a stop to fun and relaxation.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke shares her top tips to help maintain your digestive health this summer.

BARBECUE RIGHT

It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the sunshine with friends and family but remember a barbecue can also be an easy way to end up with food poisoning. Ensure meat and fish are cooked thoroughly – it helps if the coals get really hot before cooking.

AVOID TUMMY BUGS

They can ruin foreign holidays but you can take precautions to avoid them. Don’t drink tap water unless you know it’s safe to do so. Avoid ice cubes as well as salads and fruit that hasn’t been peeled. Try to eat in restaurants that are always busy, as a high turnover of dishes may mean fresher food.

ADDRESS CONSTIPATION

There’s nothing wrong with lazing around on the beach but inactivity can lead to constipation. Try to do some physical activity each day. Avoid taking laxatives as they can cause painful spasms and your body may become reliant on them. Instead try taking 400mg of magnesium or sip some prune juice if available.

EAT FERMENTED FOODS

Sauerkraut and Kimchi, for example, or a kefir or kombucha drink boost levels of good bacteria – essential for good digestive health.

TAKE A PROBIOTIC

If you are travelling to an exotic location, or you have been on a course of antibiotics, dose up with probiotics to help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.

STAY HYDRATED

Dehydration can result in lethargy and constipation so remember to drink plenty of water. Avoid drinking too much fluid at once; instead sip regularly throughout the day.

TRY ARTICHOKE

If a bug strikes try taking artichoke extract. It may help reduce nausea and vomiting as well as intestinal spasms and gas.

BREW UP

Herbal teas can soothe an upset tummy. Try ginger or mint for nausea and camomile for acidity and general discomfort.