Indulging in festive delights is part and parcel of the holiday season, but the aftermath of rich foods and overeating can leave us feeling bloated and uncomfortable. With an average consumption of 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone—triple the recommended daily intake for women—it’s no wonder our digestion may struggle during this time. Several factors contribute to holiday-related tummy troubles, including increased food intake, elevated alcohol consumption, and a surplus of rich, creamy dishes that can trigger discomfort. Fear not, as there are practical steps to safeguard your stomach health and relish the festivities without the unwanted bloat.
1. Engage Your Senses. Kickstart the digestive process by embracing the cephalic phase, which is triggered when you see or smell food. Take a moment to envision the delightful meal you’ll enjoy, stimulating digestive juices and preparing your body for optimal digestion. Be mindful and savour the anticipation before indulging in the hustle and bustle.
2. Chew Your Food Follow the wise advice from Mom—chew your food thoroughly. Proper chewing mechanically breaks down food, increasing its surface area for digestive enzymes to perform their duties efficiently. Inadequate chewing may lead to incomplete digestion, causing fermentation and discomfort. Aim for mindful chewing, ensuring your food is well broken down before swallowing.
3. Balance Your Stomach Acid Contrary to popular belief, digestive troubles may stem from insufficient stomach acid rather than an excess. Aging, stress, and certain medications can diminish stomach acid levels, affecting the breakdown of food proteins. Combat this by incorporating a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with ‘mother’ before each main meal, promoting a healthier digestive environment.
4. Take a Digestive Enzyme Supplement. As we age, our natural production of digestive enzymes decreases, hindering nutrient absorption. Boost your enzyme levels by including enzyme-rich foods like pineapple or papaya. Alternatively, consider a digestive enzyme capsule, available at health food stores, to support efficient digestion.
5. Time Out: Allow your digestive system to rest by spacing out meals every 3-4 hours. This practice provides ample time for complete digestion and a break before the next dinner. While holiday snacking may pose a challenge, strive for discipline in creating a balanced eating routine.
6. Walk It Off After indulging, walk gently for about 15 minutes. This simple activity aids in lowering blood sugar levels, reducing insulin production, and enhancing the digestion process. Incorporate this post-meal stroll into your festive routine to promote overall well-being.
Embrace these practical tips during Christmas and observe the positive impact on digestive comfort. If persistent digestive issues plague you, consider a consultation call to delve deeper into understanding and resolving gut-related concerns.
If you’re sick of feeling bloated, gassy, crampy or going to the loo too much (or too little), book a free 30-minute digestive health mini consultation. You can do that by clicking here.