This is a collaborative post.
One of the best things about Christmas is eating delicious food and treating yourself to a little of what you enjoy to drink. But we all know that by boxing day, we’ll be feeling bloated and sluggish. Every year, the festive preparations seem to begin earlier. Temptations aplenty encourage us to eat more carbs, fats, proteins and sugars and we start to feel uncomfortable. But Beth Morris, a Clinical Nutritionist from Biocare, has some tips to help you enjoy some festive fun whilst looking after your digestive system.
1. Understand bloating
Bloating is caused by a rise in pressure in the abdomen, which can cause pain and discomfort. Other side effects include excess gas, burping and heartburn. Maldigestion can also take place when we have insufficient enzymes or stomach acid for digestion. Undigested proteins may then get stuck within the colon, which causes gas and bloating.
2. Know the foods that cause bloat
Digestion of all food and absorption of nutrients relies on gut health. Some products can impact gut health negatively, including foods high in dairy, gluten, added sugar and trans fats. These can all be present in abundance in the sort of food we indulge in at Christmas, including chocolate, baked goods, deserts, processed meats and pastries. Such foods cause digestive issues including bloating.
3. Destress to relieve discomfort
Biocare reassure people that they can relax and enjoy Christmas. However, they do warn that Christmas stress can cause raised cortisol levels, which can lower immunity and cause a stressed stomach. This may mean the digestive system becomes depleted in both stomach acid and enzymes, both of which are involved in breaking down carbohydrates and proteins. Making time to relax and get enough sleep can help relieve stress, helping to keep bloating at bay and giving you a Winter immune boost.
4. Take a digestive enzyme supplement
Digestive enzymes help us to break down carbs, sugars, fats and proteins in food. A supplement containing these enzymes will help to aid digestion and relieve symptoms including bloating and acid reflux. Polyxyme Forte® is Biocare’s enzyme complex. Experts, including Clinical Nutritionist Beth Morris, see Polyxyme Forte® as a staple at this time of year. It allows them to enjoy the festive season without discomfort.
5. It’s all about balance
Try to avoid over-indulging by exercising balance and self-control this Christmas. If you’re having a big family meal in the evening, then go for a breakfast containing antioxidants, good protein and healthy fats. A healthy fry up is a good option. Include poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, spinach, baked beans and avocado. Make sure you save the real indulgence for Christmas day and enjoy every mouthful.
6. Try a gentle detox
Most of us detox in the new year, but it can be helpful to gently detox throughout the festive period instead of waiting for it to end. This may prevent both weight gain and fatigue. Eat plenty of fruit and green vegetables, which are full of nutrients to help detox from alcohol and rich food. Make smoothies that include broccoli, spinach, kale and apples to help ensure you get the nutrients you need. Alternatively, try the same vegetables in a soup. Add herbs including coriander for an extra detox kick.
7. Get moving
When you’re full of Christmas dinner, it’s tempting to curl up on a sofa for a nap. But gentle exercise helps digestion, so you’d be much better off wrapping up warm and going for a walk.
8. Relax into the new year
To ensure the best start to 2019 for your digestive system, it’s important to continue to find time to relax. Stress depletes our essential nutrients and impacts our digestive system. So, mindfulness, meditation, yoga and relaxing hobbies like knitting can help. Spend quality time outdoors and get plenty of sleep to boost your mood and digestion.
9. Regulate digestion
A good quality probiotic supplement can help regulate digestion after the festive period. Top up gut bacteria levels with BioCare’s Everyday BioAcidophilus.
10. Get eating habits back on track
We’ll all over indulge to some extent over Christmas, so it’s important to focus on getting eating habits back to normal in the new year. Resist the urge to snack to excess and exercise portion control. Avoid going to bed straight after your evening meal, because this could disrupt sleep and hinder your gut’s ability to repair at night.