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Collapsing on the sofa with a full tummy, following a decadent Christmas meal, is not exactly a rare occurrence. But the indulgent dishes can leave you with a stretched, puffy, and bloated stomach. Fortunately, two hot drinks, which are probably in your cupboard already, can come to a rescue within “minutes”, according to an expert.
While staples like Brussels sprouts and Bucks Fizz are an inherent part of the Christmas menu, your tummy might not be their biggest fan.
Cruciferous vegetables and fizzy drinks are well-known causes of bloating. Doctor Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy said: “Eating too much of certain types of foods can cause bloating, or exacerbate any underlying condition.
“These foods include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, beans, onions, garlic and carbonated drinks – all things we eat too much of at Christmas!”
Taking these foods and combining them with the colourful variety of other festive treats that’ll be on your table could contribute to further gas.
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However, your go-to festive treats don’t need to spoil your evening. This is where peppermint and chamomile tea step in with a promise to tackle the stubborn bloat.
Brewed from the leaves of the plant Mentha piperita, peppermint tea is rich in flavonoids – plant compounds that offer potent health effects – such as rosmarinic acid, eriocitrin, luteolin and hesperidin.
Doctor Lee said: “Overall, these substances act as powerful antioxidants, as well as having antimicrobial, antiviral and antiallergenic activity.
“Although some studies have been conducted on peppermint oil, there is no research on the health effects of peppermint tea.
“Animal studies have shown that peppermint oil causes relaxation within the gastrointestinal tract. Studies on humans have shown peppermint oil can help relieve gastric discomfort.”
This research suggests that peppermint could help prevent the muscles in your tummy from contracting, which could help with spasms.
One study, published in the journal PLOS One, found that a single tea bag had six times more peppermint oil than capsules, which could help deliver on the bloating promise. However, more research is currently needed to draw firm conclusions.
What’s more, peppermint tea is said to be effective for bloating around 30 to 60 “minutes after drinking”, according to the doctor.
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Made from the dried flower heads of various different chamomile plants, chamomile tea is also packed with flavonoids such as apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin.
Doctor Lee said: “Again, there are no studies on the use of chamomile tea in humans, so we can only draw on what we know.
“Chamomile may prevent the growth of helicobacter pylori – a type of bacteria known to cause stomach ulcers.
“The dried flowers mixed only with hot water can be a remedy to the gas problem.”
Although pre-clinical trials suggest this tea could be beneficial for your stomach, more research is needed to confirm its digestive benefits, similarly to peppermint tea.
However, this herbal tea could only take 35 to 45 minutes to ease your Christmas bloat, according to the expert.
Doctor Lee recommended drinking two cups of peppermint tea per day and enjoying three to four portions of chamomile.
She added that patients with hiatus hernia or gastric reflux should check with their GP before starting peppermint treatment, while those on blood thinners such as warfarin, heparin or clopidogrel, should avoid chamomile tea.
In case, your bloat isn’t only a Christmas occurrence and it persists for weeks, you should see a GP as it could signal a more serious cause, the NHS advises.
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