The festive season means lots of lovely things. It means twinkling lights framing the city’s streets, and beautiful shop windows, and Christmas Carols and choirs, and friends and family… for many of us it also means plenty of rich foods and alcoholic drinks (‘sure, it’s Christmas!’). A little excess is natural during this time of year and we’re not going to scold you for it – but it can lead to feeling a tad sluggish and bloated.
While we are definitely big advocates of the art of moderation, we also understand that even a little excess can cause a sensitive tummy to feel bloated and digestion to feel slow. We also know the very best things you can do to give your body all the help it needs. With that in mind, here are our top tips to beat bloat and keep things moving all through the season of excess!
Little and often
This can work out quite well with the festive finger foods on offer at this time of year! Rich food is one thing; large portions of rich food are another thing entirely. Try to keep portions small, and your tummy will find them easier to manage – plus you won’t get that uncomfortable overly-full feeling that a big meal can trigger, making you feel ‘bloated’ even though you’re just very full up.
Drinking more water can sound like bad advice, since you’re already retaining water when you’re bloated… but hydration is super important to keep everything working as it should. When your body tries to handle dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, it retains water, which means you end up with a distended, uncomfortable tummy. Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated, and you’ll help to flush out the retained water and sodium that give you the dreaded bloat.
Get your digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes are proteins that facilitate the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. They work by breaking down the bigger molecules from the food you eat, like proteins, carbs and fats, into smaller and more easily digested molecules. They can be found in your saliva, your stomach, and mostly your small intestine where the real digestive work is done. If you want to make sure you’re giving your gut al the help it can get to break down and fully digest what you eat, try some good quality digestive enzyme supplements. Udo’s Choice make high-quality enzyme capsules that are totally plant-based, and contain 7 different plant-based enzymes that can help keep the bloat at bay and make sure you’re getting the most from what you eat.
Swallowing air while we eat is a prime culprit when it comes to causes of bloating. It happens everyone, but it can particularly affect people who eat a little too fast and don’t chew their food properly, or people who snack fast and on the go. Adopting a more mindful approach to eating can be a huge help. Take your time, chew thoroughly, don’t talk while you eat, and take smaller bites… your tummy will thank you
Probiotics are the good live bacteria and yeasts that live in your body, and they do a lot of work to keep your digestive system running smoothly. You can get probiotics from food like natural live yoghurt, sauerkraut and other fermented foods, but to be sure your gut flora is packed with the bacteria you need, you can take a probiotic supplement. Research shows they can help with bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues and conditions that leave us feeling uncomfortable.
Believe it of not, stress is closely linked to the health of your gut and digestive system – the connection between our thoughts and our tummies is a powerful one (a great example of this is that feeling of ‘butterflies in the stomach’ we get when we’re nervous). According to the APA, stress has a considerable affect on how we digest food, how we absorb nutrients, and even how we experience bloating or constipation. It’s really important for your mental and physical health that you make an effort to eliminate stress from your life. Yoga, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, and adequate sleep are all a huge help, but if you need something a little more immediate, try some Rescue Remedy spray or capsules, and some good, deep-down-to-the-stomach breathing.