Are Digestifs Recommended?

March 13, 2020
Although people generally believe that digestifs are beneficial, in this article, we’ll tell you why it isn’t a good idea to drink them after heavy meals.

Digestifs are credited with the ability to make digestions lighter and improve this process. This capability is based on the assumed power of alcohol on the stimulation of stomach gastric secretion.

However, no scientific evidence backs this up. No studies demonstrate the beneficial capacity of alcohol on digestive processes. Some of the most popular ones are patxaran, orujo, herbal distillate, or coffee liqueur, among others.

Alcohol is never advisable

Alcoholic drinks are usually the coup de grace after a hearty and plentiful meal. In spite of traditional beliefs, alcoholic beverages don’t have any beneficial effect on health.

Neither wine nor digestifs have the ability to improve any organic processes nor do they have antioxidant properties. By contrast, a continuous consumption of alcoholic beverages is a health hazard.

Alcohol intake strains the liver, which is the organ responsible for metabolizing it. Also, it increases the risk of suffering from oral or gastrointestinal cancer. Moreover, alcohol consumption is related to the development of other cancers and complex diseases.

Despite being a beverage with an important cultural background, you need to be aware that none of its varieties benefit the body in any way. The WHO lists alcohol as a harmful substance. Thus, it should be treated as such. It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol or to only do so occasionally in a controlled manner. Drinking alcoholic beverages every day, even in small doses, is a major health risk in the medium and long term.

Some alcoholic drinks on a bar.
The idea that digestifs improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract has no scientific support.

Keep reading: The WHO’s Findings on Meat and Cancer

Digestive foods

However, certain foods do have the ability to improve digestion or make them lighter. An example is pineapple, which contains the enzyme bromelain. This enzyme is responsible for assisting protein breakdown and improving its absorption. In addition, pineapple has a diuretic effect that helps reduce fluid retention.

Foods rich in fiber and water also help improve digestion. They increase the content of the fecal bolus and stimulate intestinal peristalsis. Therefore, it’s usually a good option to finish meals, especially heavy meals, with a piece of fruit. In addition, there are certain effective pharmacological treatments to relieve or prevent such situations.

It’s important to avoid heavy meals

One of the golden rules of nutrition is to avoid eating more than you need. Thus, avoiding large meals is often a better option than consuming digestive foods to lessen their impact on your body.

Excessively fatty foods slow down the digestive process. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure to include vegetables in your meals. You must accompany them with grilled or baked protein. Finally, you can add a serving of complex carbohydrates if necessary.

It’s important to avoid sauces and processed, fried, and breaded foods. These foods slow down and worsen digestion and have a poor nutritional value.

Prioritizing fresh food improves digestion and your diet in general. In addition, you must accompany meals with water. Carbonated beverages can cause uncomfortable bloating that can hinder the digestive processes.

Two cups of chocolate liqueur.
Although digestifs are widely accepted among the general population, they aren’t beneficial.

Find out more here: How to Know if You’re Addicted to Alcoholic Beverages

Conclusion on digestifs

It isn’t a good idea to consume alcoholic beverages, whether they’re digestive or not. Ideally, you should avoid heavy and overly fatty foods, but the best option after consuming them is to avoid drinking an alcoholic beverage.

The regular consumption of such beverages affects health and increases the risk of complex diseases. Also, they don’t improve digestive capacity.

It’s a much better option to eat a piece of fruit after consuming these foods. Pineapple can aid protein breakdown and its assimilation in the small intestine.

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