CHRISTMAS is the one time of year it’s acceptable to eat as much as your heart (or stomach) desires.
But on occasion, your body can be its own worst enemy and can try to halt your festive feasting by leaving you feeling bloated and nauseous.
Signe Svanfeldt, a nutritionist from healthy eating app Lifesum, has shared some tips on how to beat the bloat as quickly as possible so you don’t have to spend the rest of your day near the loo.
Firstly, prevention is better than cure – and although it might be too late for some – Signe suggests eating more slowly.
“Chew your food properly and choose easily digestible foods,” he explained.
Fibre helps food move through your digestive system more easily.
And foods high in fibre include vegetables, fruits and whole grains – so it might be worth loading your plate with sprouts if you can stomach them.
If you possess some impressive will power, or secretly hate Christmas, it might be worth avoiding some Christmas dinner staples, which could be directly responsible for your bloat.
“Foods eaten during the Christmas season are processed and high in fat, all of which can lead to an upset stomach,” Signe said.
This sadly applies to all the good stuff: pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, stuffing.
But if you’ve already thrown yourself headfirst into your Christmas dinner and the gurgling sounds have already begun, here are some tips for you:
1. Drink plain water
“Drinking water will help your stomach to digest the food easier and calm it down,” Signe said.
“Choose still water over sparkling as the sparkling water can make the stomach even more upset and cause bloating,” he added.
2. Take a brisk walk
After Christmas, it can be tempting to spend the next few days in a food-coma on the sofa with your hand stuck inside a box of Celebrations.
But research has found that when we’re at rest, we retain a significantly higher proportion of gas in the gut.
A nice post-dinner walk will help move remnants of the roast through your body, the expert said.
“Getting some movement in your body will aid digestion and calm your stomach,” Signe explained.
One 2006 study found that walking helps to speed up the time it takes for food to move from the stomach into the small intestines – meaning it can’t hang around causing inflammation and also makes us feel more full after eating.
There’s also evidence to suggest that speeding up digestion like this can reduce your risk of heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
3. Drinking peppermint tea
It’s sometimes considered a bit of an old wives’ tale, but Signe urges those in pain to try drinking a cup of peppermint tea.
“Drinking something relaxing and warm can create a nice feeling in your gastric area,” Signe explained.
There’s a lack of research specific to peppermint tea leaves, but studies have found that peppermint oil reduces stomach cramps and more specifically irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
4. A massage
“If it feels comfortable, massage your stomach from the left to the right to aid digestion,” Signe said.
Previously, Reema Patel, dietitian and nutritionist at Dietitian Fit & Co, told The Sun how to effectively massage away the bloat.
“Stroke upwards from the base of your abdomen towards the ribcage using the flats of your hands,” she said.
“Then, place both palms of your hands on your back and move your hands forwards, over your hips and down the sides of your pelvis, toward the groin.
“Next, place a fist in the lower-right groin area, and slide your hand up towards the ribcage and around the side in a circular motion.
“Then knead your abdomen from top to bottom ten times.” Reema says this helps relax muscles and stimulates movement along the gut.
5. Hot water bottle
“For some, it can help to have some heat on the stomach such as a water bottle,” Signe explains.
You could also use a microwaveable heat pad.
The heat helps the muscles in the gut to relax, which subsequently allows trapped gas to move through the intestines, according to medical website Medical News Today.
“Heat can also reduce the sensation of pain,” it said.
So there are loads of ways to get rid of your food baby this Christmas.