The mix of high-calorie food and a festive gathering can be lethal for your digestive system, and it’s nowhere more apparent than during the holiday season when you’re exposed to enormous amounts of high-calorie food (most of it irresistible). It’s the perfect recipe for digestive issues. And there’s nothing like a case of the holiday bloat for adding a not-so-merry “bah humbug” to your holiday festivities.
Indulging in special meals and treats can be an important part of the holidays, and I certainly don’t want you to feel deprived so let’s do some damage control! Here are seven ways to navigate through this season and still keep the holiday bloat under control.
- Increase your soluble fiber intake. This helps with constipation and moves food through the digestive system at just the right pace. If you feel bloated because you’re sensitive to gluten, be careful about which soluble fiber supplement you choose because even the ones that say “gluten-free” on the label may in fact contain traces of gluten. Sunfiber is 100 percent gluten-free so you’ll never have that concern. And it’s mostly soluble fiber, which is terrific food for the good bacteria in your gut!
- Keep your portions small. Larger meals take longer than normal to digest. This is why you may feel distended and bloated for hours after you eat. Pace yourself. It may not be wise to try to sample everything on the table in one sitting. If your plate is already full, consider storing small portions of the other foods in the refrigerator for the next day.
- Consider trying a low FODMAP diet. Certain foods can be harder to digest than others, which can produce gas and leave you feeling bloated. A low FODMAP diet may help soothe aggravating tummy troubles. The one major disadvantage of low FODMAP diets is that they are very low in fiber. So if you do try one — and many people benefit from them — be sure to compensate with Regular Girl, a synbiotic blend of prebiotic Sunfiber plus probiotics. Regular Girl is low-FODMAP certified and contains a hefty dose of Bifidobacterium lactis. This probiotic is helpful for a healthy GI tract.
- Take at least 30 minutes to finish a meal. Gas and bloating can be caused by too much air getting into our stomachs as we eat or drink. Eating too quickly – as well as chewing gum and using straws — can cause you to swallow more air.
- Skip the bubbly. While alcohol itself can cause bloating, the carbonation in champagne can be even more aggravating because it also introduces air into your GI tract. If you want to enjoy a cocktail, also drinking plenty of water will make your digestive system happy. Water speeds digestion and helps to counteract salt- and carb-induced bloating.
- Curb temptation by having a healthy breakfast. Having a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast supports your digestive health. If you struggle with mid-morning hunger, making a smoothie with Regular Girl may help say no to those tempting holiday goodies in the breakroom and minimize the odds of feeling puffy from overeating.
- Take a walk after every meal. This one is huge. It will improve your digestion and as a bonus, it will help relieve any holiday stress you may be feeling. If you do it after dinner, it just may help prevent weight gain.
At one time or another, we’ve all pushed away from the table feeling like we’re about to burst. Just remember, every meal is a new decision. If you tend to feel puffy and bloated after eating, start doing something about it the next time your fork nears your plate.
Biography: Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”) is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health, and the best-selling author of 15 books on health. He is a member of Media Relation Agency’s panel of highly respected experts and is compensated to express his own professional opinions, through the media, about certain products. Dr. Jonny earned six certifications in personal training and fitness, has a Master’s degree in psychology, a PhD in holistic nutrition and is board certified by the American College of Nutrition. He has written, contributed to or consulted on hundreds of articles in print and online publications as diverse as the New York Times, People, Us, O the Oprah Magazine, In Style, Vanity Fair Online, People, GQ, Forbes Online, Clean Eating, the Huffington Post and many others.