How To Beat The Christmas Bloat

My Top 10 Digestive Tips to Beat the Christmas Bloat!

In the run up to Christmas, there is a tendancy for us to overeat, especially foods rich in fats and sugars, as well as to drink to excess.  It can seem so hard to resist all the temptation! But it doesn't have to be this way!  When faced with a buffet loaded with tempting dishes and free booze at the Christmas party, or two, or on the big day itself, rest assured you can stay prepared with my top ten digestive tips to beat the Christmas Bloat!

When we eat to excess, especially combinations of foods or quantities of food that we are not used to, we may experience symptoms of disrupted digestion in the form of bloating, sometimes painful trapped wind, excess acid, or constipation, or even just a general feeling of discomfort or tiredness.

It's helpful to adopt some mindfulness techniques and nutritional strategies to ensure that you enjoy Christmas Day whilst taking care of your digestive system.

Here are my 10 top tips to beat the bloat, and enjoy your day more:

1. Eat little and often, rather than in one long binge!  Start the day well with a light breakfast of muesli with a few seeds, berries and yoghurt, or scrambled eggs and salmon on rye bread. These foods are easily digested and provide fibre and slow release energy throughout the morning. Generally aim to eat every 3 hours, and keep the portions small,  asking yourself: 'am I really hungry?' when offered a chocolate or a mince pie! If you want them, take small bites and savour each bite slowly! 

2. Keep up your exercise routine, or if this is impossible, get outside with your friends and family for your morning walk. This helps to kickstart circulation and digestion.  A walk after lunch is also beneficial. Research in the March 2008 issue of Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, showed that a 15 minute walk helps food to move through the stomach and helps lower blood sugar. 

3. The Christmas meal itself - spread the courses throughout the day so you start with some melon or soup - have a break to open some presents, then have your main course.  Leave your dessert for an hour or so later and give your stomach time to digest each course.

4. Sip liquids slowly with your meal - leave half an hour before and after your meal so that your natural digestive enzymes and stomach acid are not diluted and they get a chance to work on digesting your food.

5. Chewing, hydrochloric acid (HCL) and digestive enzymes are vital for an efficient digestive system. Remember to chew your food really slowly, about 30 times each bite!  Digestion starts in the mouth. Not only does chewing break down the initial bites into smaller particles, it also triggers the brain to produce digestive enzymes which arrive in the stomach to start digesting the food when it arrives there. Papaya and pineapple, and raw veggies provide natural digestive enzymes. You can also take a combined digestive enzyme supplement with your meals, they contain pepsin and hydrochloric acid for protein digestion, lipase for fat digestion and amylase for the complete digestion of carbohydrates. Undigested food in the stomach can slow the whole process of digestion further down the digestive tract, causing fermentation, another cause of bloating, and can also lead to food intolerances.

6. Take some acidophilus to help the bowel replenish good bacteria that keeps the bad bugs at bay, helps with the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.

7. Keep hydrated - for each alcoholic drink, have a glass of water.  This helps you prevent a hangover and will slow the drinking down which can help prevent acidity

8. Try to reduce the intake of high wheat foods and sugary food or drinks and aim for lots of veggies on your plate - this leaves less room for rich foods that are harder to digest.

9. End your meal with fresh peppermint tea, a well known digestive aid, especially for wind that is trapped in the stomach.

10. Next morning, have a cup of hot water and lemon which helps to alkalize the body. 

Enjoy your day - and don't let anything get in the way of you enjoying your delicious food!