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Is the little "digestive" at the end of a heavy meal good for digestion?

Some people drink alcohol during a meal, but others prefer to uncork a bottle after having eaten a lot. This is the little after-meal digestive that many people love. Alcohol is obviously to be consumed in moderation, but one question arises:does the digestive live up to its name?

A received idea

After a meal, the things that should clearly be avoided are:eating fruit, drinking tea, going for a swim, playing sports, smoking a cigarette and taking a nap. Should we add to this list the intake of a small digestive? Consumed after a hearty meal, cognac, whisky, armagnac, old rum or even calvados are qualified as digestives. For many people, the end of a hearty meal often comes with these alcohols in order to better pass the excesses.

In reality, it is simply a received idea , as explained by several studies, including the one published in 2010 by the University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland). According to Henriette Heinrich, principal researcher of the study, the guests tested after a meal accompanied by alcohol saw their gastric digestion slowed down by half. The digestion time of the water drinkers was six hours compared to nine for the others . However, it should be noted that the study in question concerned alcohol consumption during the meal (a Savoyard fondue).

Is the little  digestive  at the end of a heavy meal good for digestion?

The false beneficial effect of the digestive

Nevertheless, the researchers are formal:the scientific community has for a long time wrongly extolled the merits of the digestive. The idea was that alcohol facilitates digestion by increasing the secretion of gastritis , a digestive enzyme that makes the stomach more mobile. However, if alcohol can effectively distend the stomach (phenomenon of vasodilation) and bring a feeling of well-being, it unfortunately weighs down digestion.

You should know that alcohol does not undergo any biochemical modification as it passes through our digestive system. It partly passes into our blood through the walls of the stomach as well as the intestine. Thus, alcohol can cause diarrhea. Thus, in addition to vasodilation, which in reality is a falsely beneficial effect and very short-lived, there would be no positive effect of consuming alcohol during or after a meal. Moreover, the reputation of certain alcohols as digestives has a fairly ancient origin, from a time when these same alcohols owed their taste to aromatics and certain spices which effectively facilitated digestion.

There are other ways to improve digestion like drinking water , to aid in the breakdown of food. Taking your time and chewing well is also highly recommended. After the meal, especially if it is very hearty, taking a short walk can also be beneficial. Indeed, walking a little can shake the body slightly , and therefore the digestive system.