How to avoid bloating over Christmas
Christmas is bound to make us bloated from all the food and drinks that we love to have over the holidays! From office Christmas parties to sitting down with family and friends - there are so many celebrations over the festive season which no one wants the dreaded bloat around for!
There are several different factors that can contribute to bloating over Christmas time, and we’re going to discuss each of these in today’s article. We will also give some top tips on how you can reduce bloating over this season.
Why do we bloat more over the festive season
1. Changes in your diet
Over the Christmas period, it’s often challenging to maintain your usual diet. The typical hearty, heavy foods we indulge in around Christmas contribute to bloated bellies. A lot of the time, the meals we eat are higher in calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Our diet plays a particularly important role in bloating throughout the year, so consuming traditionally unhealthy foods can wreak havoc on your stomach.
Breaking down heavy foods can be challenging for many individuals. As these foods move through our digestive system, our gut bacteria may ferment the partially digested food, resulting in an excess of gas and potential bloating.
The consumption of high-fat foods can further impede gut motility, providing bacteria with additional time to ferment and generate gas. Additionally, a diet high in sugar can cause the growth of unfavourable bacteria and yeasts in the gut, exacerbating bloating.
Even seasonal vegetables enjoyed during Christmas, like Brussels sprouts, have gained a reputation for causing gas due to their elevated sulphur content.
2. Increased alcohol
High-calorie drinks like beer, wine, cider, and whiskey not only increase bloating in the digestive tract, but also increase weight gain around the abdomen. Just one drink can contain several hundred calories.
Alcohol is a diuretic, so it causes your body to lose more water. Although this makes it sound like alcohol should reduce bloating, it actually has the opposite effect and causes increased gas production and bloating.
Alcohol can cause the lining of the digestive tract to become inflamed, which can exacerbate bloating and total-body swelling. These effects are worsened if you consume alcoholic drinks with other fluids, like carbonated sodas and sugary fruit juices.
3. Sedentary lifestyle
Over December, we would all rather cuddle up on the couch watching Christmas movies with our loved ones. We are all culprits of staying bundled up inside, but regular movement is important to keep your digestive tract active and prevent stagnation of food in the colon.
Sitting down for long periods of time can lead to bloating as gas builds up in the gut, which can be uncomfortable and potentially painful.
How to avoid bloating over Christmas
let's face it - you're going to over eat (we all are). So here are some of our top tips to limit your bloat this Christmas.
Here are the best bloating remedies to tackle the Christmas bloat.
Lots of liquids
Water is necessary for efficient and healthy digestion, and it also fuels your gut bacteria and enables them to continue supporting your metabolism. When you’re staying inside and not moving around much, you might forget to drink water and possibly opt for a tea or coffee instead. However, it’s essential to drink adequate amounts of water to prevent bloating.
On average, you’ll need around eight glasses of water to keep your body functioning optimally. Get yourself a water bottle to carry around the house and out to meals so you never get thirsty and dehydrated.
Consuming enough dietary fibre is essential for preventing constipation and bloating. However, many people don’t achieve the recommended dietary fibre intake of between 25 and 38 grams a day.
Make sure to include plenty of fibre-rich foods in your diet, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, to fuel your beneficial gut bacteria and aid digestion. However, try to avoid overconsuming fibre, as this can have the opposite effect and cause worsening digestive symptoms. Ideally, you should try and stick to less than 70 grams of fibre a day.
Take probiotics and digestive enzymes
Probiotics are live bacteria that are known to be beneficial for digestion. They include species like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus, and they reside in their millions inside the colon.
Although you already have millions of helpful bacteria in your digestive tract, it does no harm to give them a helping hand by taking a probiotic supplement. A probiotic supplement boosts your digestion and reduces bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps.
Make sure any probiotic supplement you take contains at least one billion live bacteria. Digestive enzymes are another great supplement to take. Whether you choose to take a supplement that contains both probiotics and digestive enzymes together, or you choose to have them separately, digestive enzymes are great for improving GI symptoms.
As with probiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes are found naturally in the body. They are produced in various areas of your gastrointestinal tract to break down food into smaller particles that can be absorbed into your bloodstream and used by your body for energy.
Taking a digestive enzyme supplement can speed up your digestive processes and reduce the risk of bloating and abdominal distension.
Move your body
I know it's cold and we would rather stay at home in bed but a quick "digestive walk" with your family and friends can do wonders! Gentle movement like walking and stretching can get your tum working and help relieve trapped gas.
Light movement can be one of the most effective natural remedies for bloating. Getting your body moving can increase blood flow to the digestive tract and aid digestion. You can even do 10 minutes of stretching after eating each meal to support your digestion.
Drink herbal teas
The cold weather is the perfect time to tuck into your favourite herbal tea!
Herbal tea, such as peppermint or lemon tea, can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can ease tension in your digestive tract and support your natural digestive processes to keep bloating at bay.
You can find herbal tea in most places, so no matter where you’re travelling over christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy this natural bloating remedy for the duration of the festive season!