Digestive discomforts of summer are often blamed on the heat, but an examination of the drinks and food ingested reveals that the cause is different. An example of a summer culinary plan: skewer of tortillas and beer as a starter, lunch with friends with a good entrecôte as a main course and unlimited wine, chocolate cake for dessert, coffee with pastries to finish… And then a sunset stroll. sun for to come down food and regain strength for dinner, which will surely not be light.
Changing eating habits, as highlighted Andrés Sanchez Yague, head of the communication committee of the Spanish Digestive System Foundation (FEAD) and head of the endoscopy service at the Quirónsalud Marbella Hospital, “can affect the digestive process, although it should not cause digestive discomfort “. If they come to show themselves,they are more likely to be related to identifiable transgressions, such as very large meals or excessive alcohol consumption”. The solution is at hand: “A change of habits, like adapting to a more Mediterranean diet or eat more fruit, which is more appetizing in the summer”.
With the greater tendency to eat outside the home and the increase in social activities outside, gas, flatulence, diarrhea, heartburn, etc. increase. But it wouldn’t be fair to put all the blame on bad habits. Sophie Carunchocommunity pharmacist and member of the Nutrition and Digestive group of the Spanish Society of Clinical, Family and Community Pharmacy (Sefac)points out that there is “evidence that prove a correlation between high environmental temperatures and gastrointestinal infectionssince the growth and spread of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites) can be influenced by weather conditions”. For this reason, “some foodborne illnesses have a seasonal component, such as salmonellosiswhich causes gastroenteritis and, consequently, the appearance of diarrhoea, vomiting or abdominal pain”.
Tips to digest in peace
During the holidays, people tend to eat more than they should at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, supplemented by a larger snack between meals. The result is usually digestive overload, which results in slower and heavier digestions.
In addition to slowing down a bit and trying to eat less, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of foods that are difficult to digestlike the fried, ultra-processed foods and high-fat products. It is also advisable limit the consumption of alcohol and sugary or carbonated drinks. “Alcohol slows the movement of food through the digestive system,” says Caruncho. It also has a dehydrating effect.
The community pharmacist recommends increasing the consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as fiber there probiotics to promote the intestinal flora. “It’s vitally important try to maintain stable meal times, to avoid overeating due to excessive appetite“, he underlines.
It is also relevant to take care of your hydration, so it is recommended drink lots of fluids -especially water-, especially in children and the elderly, because they perceive the feeling of thirst worse.
Sánchez insists on the need “to avoid dietary transgressions”. According to him, the holidays are an ideal time to “make a positive change to adapt the diet to the concept of the Mediterranean diet, including more appetizing dishes in summer such as gazpachofinally salads or typical fruits like watermelon or watermelon”.
Likewise, it is advisable to avoid sudden changes in temperaturewhich “occur both internally (if you drink a liter of cold water while very hot) and externally (going from being very hot to bathing in freezing water)”, and which can “affect our homeostatic balance and trigger effects such as hydrocution (commonly known as digestive cut).
Medicines, hygiene and dietary measures and natural remedies
There are different medications for digestive discomfort such as abdominal swelling, gas and flatulence, constipationslow digestion acidity, heartburn, feeling of a full stomach… In particular, against gastric acidity, antacids, alginates, acid antisecretors, proton pump inhibitors and mucous membrane protectors, as well as drugs prokinetics can be used. But should not be taken “without prior indication”, according to the FEAD digestion specialist. Sánchez admits that patients “who have already been treated with prokinetics may need them again, but their generic administration cannot be recommended without prior justification.”
The pharmacist expert in nutrition recalls the usefulness of hygiene and dietary measures which facilitate good digestion, such as chew well, avoid tobacco and alcohol, or engage in moderate physical activity (but don’t do it right after meals).
Likewise, recommends the consumption of “infusions based on fennel, chamomile, gentian or lemon balm, which help to avoid gastric discomfort”. Digestive enzyme drugs “also help support digestion.” In people with lactose digestion problems, Caruncho advises the consumption of lactase.
Digestive discomfort requiring medical treatment
Adopting healthier eating habits is usually enough to normalize digestion. Otherwise, it may be food poisoning or a digestive disease requiring specific diagnosis and treatment. These are the main warning signs which indicate that it may be a problem that should be consulted by a doctor:
- When stomach symptoms or discomfort they become more intense.
- Abdominal pain that does not improve in 24 to 48 hours or abdominal discomfort that lasts longer than a week.
- Frequent abdominal swelling.
- Changes in stool frequency and consistency.
- appearance of blood or mucus in the stool.
- High fever.
- repeated vomiting.