What is your “Taste of Summer”? Hot dogs at the ballpark while watching a game? Barbequed hamburgers at the beach or a 4th of July picnic? A wonderfully ripe peach? Watermelon? Whatever they are, we all have them—the tastes, the flavors, the sensations that let us know it’s summer—time for sunshine, relaxation, and finger foods like barbeque, popsicles, and corn on the cob.
Summer means vacation, so we’re also traveling more and grabbing convenience food on the go. We’re eating restaurant meals with ingredients that aren’t always our best option. All these unique summer food choices can put a stress on the digestive system. A common result is heartburn, which is sure to put a crimp in your seasonal activities, including getting enough sleep.
Although popular opinion points the finger at too much acid in the stomach, occasional heartburn is often the result of impaired digestion, the failure to break down and properly absorb the foods we eat. Many people experience heartburn after consuming alcoholic beverages or acidic foods like tomatoes, including pasta sauces. Dairy and chocolate can also be triggers. The obvious solution is to watch what we eat, removing offending foods from our diet, so as to reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn. But if we are on vacation, cutting out dietary pleasures may not be a choice we want to make.
A simple solution for individuals dealing with digestive distress is to take a high quality comprehensive digestive enzyme. Products like Digest Gold™ by Enzymedica will support a healthy intestinal environment and encourage complete digestion of all food groups, including fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. If you are experiencing heartburn, however, occasional symptoms may warrant a specialty supplement which will combine enzymes with botanicals, or even nutraceuticals formulated to address more acute digestive distress. One that is readily obtainable from natural product retailers is Enzymedica’s Acid Soothe™.
If your goal is to help soothe the stomach and esophagus, look for these ingredients:
- Marshmallow Root offers a soothing and mucilaginous coating for the GI tract. (No, I’m not talking about the bag of candy marshmallows you make s’mores with.) This herb has the ability to coat the stomach and intestines, reducing irritation and supporting healthy inflammation.
- Prickly Ash and Gotu Kola offer soothing support to the intestinal lining, aiding tissue repair during gastrointestinal distress.
- Extract of papaya supports the digestion of dietary proteins, making them easier to absorb and less likely to cause irritation to the mucous membranes.
- Zinc carnosine is a potent antioxidant that provides soothing support and strength to the lining of the stomach.
- Probiotics and enzymes promote digestion, help support the balance of beneficial intestinal microflora, and encourage a healthy GI environment.
By reducing your exposure to irritating foods and utilizing supportive supplements you may be able to enjoy your “Taste of Summer” with full joy.
NOTE: For people over the age of 50, heartburn may become an ongoing medical problem that accounts for many cases of chronic cough and inability to sleep. Occasional heartburn that outlasts seasonal dietary distress may warrant a consultation with your physician.
Dr. Walter Crinnion, ND is a noted expert in the field of Naturopathic Environmental Medicine. A best-selling author, and Professor and Chair of Environmental Medicine Department, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, his book, Clean Green, and Lean (Wiley Publishers) is available on his websitewww.CrinnionMedical.com.