11 Ways To Beat The Christmas Bloat

11 Ways To Beat The Christmas Bloat

With hearty meals, endless canapés and and copious amounts of prosecco, Christmas bloating is inevitable. So, in a bid to help you prevent this season’s puffiness, we asked the experts for their top tips. From why you should stock up on apple cider vinegar to the power of herbal teas, here are 10 habits worth adopting …

Remember Your Intentions

“Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean that your health and hard work from the rest of the year needs to go out the window,” advises Lucy Delius, Registered Nutritional Therapist. “If you crack your phone screen, you don’t keep throwing it against a wall repeatedly until it doesn’t work anymore and the same should go for your diet during Christmas. Of course, have an indulgent meal, but be sure you’re making it up for it in other areas, and not following the mindset that you’ll sort it out in January.”

Stock Up On Apple Cider Vinegar

“We all over-indulge at Christmas, but it can take its toll on our digestive system,” explains Clarissa Lenherr, London Registered Nutritionist. “To counteract the effects, try increasing foods that stimulate digestive enzymes to work their magic. These tend to be bitter or citrus in flavour such as lemons, limes and apple cider vinegar. Try a tablespoon of the latter in an unfiltered form and mix it with a small amount of water. Drink it a few minutes before eating main meals and it’ll work to break down foods and help you digest everything much better.”

Schedule Your Meals Wisely

“More and more of us are eating late night, but this is a key cause for bloating as it doesn’t allow your digestive system to rest and recover properly throughout the night,” adds Claire Barnes, Nutritional Therapist. “Always try and eat regularly and avoid big meals after 8pm where possible. Make sure you’re drinking two litres of water each day too as this will flush through toxins, improving bowel movements.”

Make Clever Swaps

“During Christmas time, we tend to gravitate towards carb heavy meals to make us feel warm and cosy,” says Lily Soutter, Nutritionist & Wellbeing Expert. “While there’s no need to cut carbs altogether, it’s key to focus on ones that come with health benefits. For example, wholegrains, winter vegetables (Brussel sprouts have 10% of daily fibre intake), beans, pluses and fresh fruit are all healthy carbs and a very rich source of fibre, which will help to keep everything moving and in turn, prevent excess bloating. Many of us are only consuming half our fibre intake, so make sure you up the ante over and after Christmas to aid in healthy digestion and regularity of your stools.”

Always Chew Your Food

“More often than not, digestive relief comes from not what we eat, but the way we eat,” explains Lily. “Meal times shouldn’t be a race to the finish line. Take your time to sit down and chew your food – not just at Christmas, all year round. Try to put your fork down between each bite. Savour the flavours and give your brain time to register your hunger and fullness cue – it really helps to prevent excessive bloating.”

Keep Raw Foods To A Minimum After Lunch

“Another great rule to follow is no raw foods after 4pm,” adds Lucy. “Raw food can sit in our gut overnight and lead to excess bloating and gas due to fermentation. This includes fresh fruits and raw veg, fresh juice, soaked and sprouted beans and dried fruits, too.”  

Do Try A Herbal Tea

“Feeling particularly bloated after a large meal? Try soothing herbal teas,” says Clarissa. “Peppermint still reigns supreme when it comes to relaxing the digestive system, but ginger tea is just as effective and has been shown to help alleviate nausea and feelings of bloating. Finally, give fennel tea a go as it’s known to help those who suffer with constipation.”

Stay Hydrated (And Not Just With Booze)

“So often at Christmas, the everyday requirement of drinking enough water goes out the window,” says Clarissa. “One of the signs we may be dehydrated is stomach pangs. Often confused with hunger pangs, many of us will end up eating our way through the grumbles (which can potentially lead to bloating and long-term weight gain) when actually, it’s our bodies way of telling us to drink some water. If you are consuming foods high in salt, you might end up with fluid retention which can leave you feeling bloated. This is another indicator that you should consume more fluids. Additionally, consuming enough water can help keep your bowels moving and prevent constipation – a top cause of bloating. Aim for a minimum of six to eight glasses of pure water a day.”

When You Do Drink, Choose Wisely

“Who doesn’t like a drink or two around the festive season? Although it’s clear that alcohol can be a digestive irritant, you’ll be pleased to know that research suggests light drinking shouldn’t affect your digestive health,” adds Lily. “Binge drinking however, may lead to more digestive upset. To curb your intake, try spritzers like sparkling water with your wine, or vodka and gin with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Seedlip is also a brilliant alcohol-free spirit that’s low in sugar, too.”

Up Your Magnesium Intake

“Try taking a teaspoon of Magnesium Citrate to help bowel movements and keep things moving along” says Lucy. “This also helps with a million other functions in our bodies, so you won’t go wrong if you incorporate it into your routine. Just don’t take more than the recommended dosage – too much will send you the opposite direction to bloating and increase diarrhoea.”

Invest In The Right Supplements

“Taking live bacteria supplements could help to re-address the balance of the gut flora by increasing the number and diversity of beneficial bacteria,” adds Claire. “While these beneficial bacteria could be increased through eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, some individuals suffering with bloating find these foods worsen their symptoms in the short-term. A study in 2014 using a multi-strain live bacteria supplement, observed a superior reduction in abdominal bloating. Try a multi-strain live bacteria supplement such as Bio-Kult Advanced which contains 14 strains of bacteria. It doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge, so it’s really convenient to use every day to encourage gut flora balance and support a reduction in bloating.”

*DISCLAIMER: These are topical solutions to bloating. You should always visit your GP if your bloating is unexplained or unrelenting.

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