With the year we’ve all had, we deserve a feast this coming holiday season. If only enjoying all the holiday food doesn’t have any consequences.
Unfortunately, while it’s nice to reward yourself with great food and holiday cheer, the former often causes feelings of bloating or indigestion. Suddenly, zipping up your newly bought denim jeans for ladies or buckling your belt can feel uncomfortable.
This happens particularly in December when holiday parties and other gatherings are happening back-to-back. According to Google Trends, searches for the word “indigestion” have spiked every Christmas morning until New Year’s morning for the past five years.
With nothing much to do and nowhere to go this holiday season due to COVID-19, you may be forced to sit around at home after enjoying your holiday feast. Health experts warn that this could contribute to bloating and indigestion.
Below, we share a few tips and tricks on how you can beat bloating this upcoming holiday season.
Avoid the three Fs of food
Fatty, fizzy, and fiber-rich foods are the three main causes of bloating. Let’s break it down:
Deep-fried dishes, as well as creamy and cheesy ones, slow down digestion. It also takes a while before your stomach can empty itself with these foods to digest. These situations can trigger bloating.
Fizzy beverages contain carbon dioxide bubbles that release gas when they reach your stomach. These gas deposits accumulate in your stomach, which leads to bloating, especially if you can’t burp. Drinking through a straw, like you would most carbonated drinks, also results in bloating because it makes you swallow air.
The human body cannot digest fiber. So eating fiber-rich foods over the holidays, such as dishes with apples, berries, legumes, nuts, and wheat, can result in bloating and indigestion.
Take your time when eating
Another one of the main causes of indigestion is eating too quickly. The food may be so good or it could be that you’ve been waiting all day, so you eat in a rush. But doing so can result in you forgetting to chew your food properly.
Large chunks of food take longer to digest so you end up feeling bloated, and possibly suffer from indigestion, after wolfing down your Christmas dinner. Take your time chewing—the food isn’t going anywhere.
Eat small portions at a time
Overeating or eating large amounts of food in one go is another cause of indigestion. We get it—you want to gobble up all the mouthwatering food on the table. But taking in too much food in one go makes it difficult for your stomach to digest them all.
So, say, wait a few minutes between your appetizer and main courses. If you want a second helping of that potato salad, consider waiting a bit. And wait between slices of cake or pie before you get another one. Just make sure to tell your family to save you some.
Avoid sitting after eating
Like we mentioned earlier, most of us will probably just stay at home for Christmas instead of doing any outdoor activities. And it’s all good—you deserve to simply laze around for the holidays. But don’t do it after eating. Bloating is only one of the many things excessive sitting does to your body.
Sitting down can cause your abdomen to compress, particularly if you’re slouching. This position slows down digestion, which leads to bloating, indigestion, and even heartburn.
Drink tummy-soothing beverages
Finally, if you’re already feeling bloated, you don’t have to suffer through it. Instead of guzzling down eggnog, hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows, or wine, soothe your stomach by drinking herbal tea.
Ginger or peppermint tea help get your digestive system moving, which leads to proper digestion and less bloating.
A good meal with good company is what you deserve this holiday. Just be mindful of the way you eat so bloating won’t poke holes in the fun you’re having.