Christmas Bloat: Is It A Thing?

We’ve already seen how the pandemic has encouraged our alcohol consumption to go up, but what about sugar, stress, sleep? The knock on effects have been huge, and typically in these situations (because let’s face it, this year has been hard), we indulge. 
I actually don’t think there’s much wrong with this attitude - Christmas should be about treating ourselves, enjoying delicious food with loved ones, and finding joy in the small things - but I also think that we all deserve to feel well, healthy and not let the good work we’ve done this year slide in the space of a few weeks.
With hearty meals, endless canapés and and copious amounts of prosecco, a bit of bloating is inevitable. Food is health, but it is also joy, love and pleasure - a way of sharing experiences with our loved ones.

Bloating is when your belly feels swollen after eating. It is usually caused by excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system.

Bloating can often cause pain, discomfort and a “stuffed” feeling. It can also make your stomach look bigger. About 16–30% of people report that they regularly experience bloating, so this is very common.
Enjoy your day, and eat all of the delicious foods and drinks, but here are some tips if you want to prevent bloating or help your symptoms.  


Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases

There are two sources of gas in the digestive system.

One is gas produced by the bacteria in the gut. The other is air or gas that is swallowed when you eat or drink. The biggest offender here is carbonated beverages like fizzy drinks.

They contain bubbles with carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released from the liquid after it reaches your stomach.

Chewing gum, drinking through a straw and eating while talking or while in a hurry can also lead to increased amounts of swallowed air.


Don’t Eat Foods That Give You Gas

Some high-fibre foods can make people produce large amounts of gas.

Major players include legumes like beans and lentils, as well as some whole grains. Try keeping a food diary to figure out if certain foods tend to make you more gassy or bloated than others.

Fatty foods can also slow down digestion and the emptying of the stomach. This can have benefits for satiety (and possibly help with weight loss), but can be a problem for people with a tendency to bloat.


Keep it regular

Constipation is a very common digestive problem, and can have many different causes. Studies show that constipation can often exacerbate symptoms of bloating.

Getting more soluble fiber is often recommended for constipation. Incorporate lots of veggies with your meal, even if it is smothered in gravy.


Hydrate and move

You might want to try drinking more water or increasing your physical activity, both of which can be effective against constipation

You'll probably be eating a bit more sugar, and drinking more alcohol, but make sure you are still getting an adequate water intake too!


Take Probiotics

Several clinical studies have shown that certain probiotic supplements can help reduce gas production and bloating in people with digestive problems 

Probiotic supplements can have numerous other benefits, so they are definitely worth trying out. They can take a while to start working though, so be patient.


Peppermint Oil Can Help

Bloating may also be caused by altered function of the muscles in the digestive tract. Peppermint oil is a natural substance that is believed to function in a similar way.

Numerous studies have shown that it can reduce various symptoms in IBS patients, including bloating. Mint tea is also a great way to calm your digestion and ease bloating, and something I love to have after a big meal.

Why not order yourself some nutrient dense, organic juices to have in the fridge between now and new year? Having some healthy green juices and immunity shots on hand is a great way to make sure that you’re still respecting and nourishing your body throughout the festive period.
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