Have you ever felt bloated over the festive season? If you had, you wouldn’t be alone.
Bloating is a gastrointestinal issue that can make you feel uncomfortably full, swollen and tight. It is often accompanied by flatulence and burping and can alter your appearance as well as being uncomfortable.1
What Causes the Christmas Bloat?
Bloating is often caused by your digestive system struggling to move the food through your stomach, absorb the nutrients and get rid of the toxins.
If this process is interrupted for any reason, bloating is a natural side effect often caused by the excess gas produced when the body attempts to push the food through your system.2
There can be many reasons that your body is struggling to digest the food you consume, particularly during celebrations in which you are out of routine. Dehydration, excess food, the time you eat and what you eat can all have an impact.
Here, we will outlay some of the reasons you may experience bloating over the festive season and what you can do to help it!
Starting your day with a pint of water before anything else can help to avoid bloating. Hydration is fundamental to the digestive system; it helps to move the food you will eat throughout the day through your system and avoid digestive discomfort, including bloating.
If you don’t have enough fluid to pass the food through your system, it can get stuck. If you are dehydrated, your body can hold onto the water you do have and lead to bloating.
Once you are hydrated, your body will let go of that water it was retaining, and your bloating will reduce.3 Nobody benefits from slow digestion, so stay hydrated and avoid discomfort!
Try a Green Tea
It may not be the first thing on your radar at Christmas, but having green tea in the morning can save you some discomfort later on.
First thing in the morning, our stomach acid is at its lowest point.4 This makes it the best time for absorption of any nutrients, as it can surpass the stomach acid and work its magic in the intestines where most of our good bacteria exist.
Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, which are useful for helping the digestive system to function properly.5 Reducing the inflammation in your digestive tract will help you to digest what is put in more efficiently.
Be Wary of Food Intolerances
This tip isn’t really just for Christmas - it’s handy to always be aware of any possible food intolerances and how they affect you, as any food can cause bloating and inflammation if you have an intolerance to it.
Food intolerances are estimated to affect 20% of the population, yet many people don’t know they have one.6
Bloating from a food intolerance doesn’t always appear directly after consuming the trigger food, so it can be hard for people to identify patterns that are causing bloating or inflammation in the gut.
Keeping a food diary can help you to identify intolerances. Writing down the food you consume and which digestive symptoms you experience can help you to see patterns between the food and the discomfort.
This will then allow you to remove that food from your diet and judge whether it has also removed the unpleasant symptoms you are experiencing.
If you are suspicious you may have an intolerance to a certain food, it’s best to steer clear of it when you are putting your gut under pressure at Christmas anyway.
The most common intolerances to be aware of are dairy (either lactose or casein), gluten, egg, nut and yeast.6
Slow it down!
Post-meal bloating can arise from eating too much during your Christmas dinner. Large quantities of food entering the digestive tract can overwhelm it and slow down digestion, resulting in the bloated appearance and feeling of the stomach.7
Include Some Anti-bloat Foods
Cucumbers are a great way to reduce bloating. They are made up of 96% water, and as we know, dehydration can be a cause of bloating.8 Adding some cucumber to your plate can help to reduce your risk of becoming dehydrated during the day.
Foods that are high in fibre can help food move through your digestive tract properly, as fibre adds bulk and weight to your stool.
Blackberries are particularly high in fibre - weighing in at 7.6 grams of fibre per 150-gram serving.9 A fantastic source of nutrition, a handful of blackberries for breakfast or dessert can be an easy or quick fix for the bloat!
Caffeine stimulates the digestive tract movement, acting as a natural laxative which is great for supporting regularity in your bowel movements.10 Caffeinated drinks can be a great tool for reducing bloating by helping the contents of the digestive system move through.
You can take a probiotic supplement to add more good bacteria to your gut microbiome and fuel the existing good bacteria with nutrients to allow them to survive and reproduce rapidly. This will help to maintain the balance of bacteria within the gut microbiome and avoid dysbiosis.
When the gut is functioning properly, you are less likely to experience sensitivity to foods and the resulting bloating. Why not try our original gut-nourishing probiotic formula, Gut Care? It may just help you with your Christmas bloating!