#TeamESC Ambassador Dr Megan Rossi aka @theguthealthdoctor shares her top tips to beat the bloat this Christmas!
So it’s that time of the year again when your social calendar tends to take precedent over your usual gym schedule, trips to farmer’s markets and general chill-time; so basically all the things that help you recharge and bring you Zen. Whilst the silly season is of course a huge amount of fun, we all know too much of a good thing can take its toll not just on our body, but on the mind too. One of the common ways our body expresses it’s had a bit too much “party” is through gut symptoms. These bothersome, and often socially awkward, symptoms can be triggered by the chat that takes place between our mind and our gut, known as the “gut- brain” axis. Meaning, whether you’ve over eaten or are just mentally exhausted, your poor gut is often left dealing with the consequences.
If you find yourself a victim of party-season-induced gut symptoms it might be worth trying these six simple tips to gain back your Christmas buzz.
1. Take it easy on the drinks
Alcohol not only leaves our minds’ frazzled but can play havoc with our guts. This is because too much alcohol transiently increases the “leakiness” of the gut and it also affects the gut’s motility…which, for many, can lead to some pretty unsavoury tummy symptoms for several days after.
TIP: Consider swapping that last drink for a kombucha or why not split your wine with soda water- thus adding the goodness of hydration without feeling like you’re missing out?
2. Chew your food well
As a consequence of our busy lives, most of us tend to eat at least one meal on the go, increasing our risk of eating too fast. This can then result in food not being digested well which can trigger tummy symptoms in some people, such as bloating. Our body is also pretty amazing at regulating our appetite and telling our brain once it’s full (through some impressive hormone processes involving the satiety hormone, leptin). However, when you eat too fast your body and brain don’t have time to catch up which can result in over doing it (and suffering from the discomfort of an expanded waistband or embarrassment from the dreaded “un-buttoning” in public…although no judgement from me, we’ve all been there!).
TIP: Aim to chew your food 20 times* for each mouthful…it’s harder than it sounds!
*Of course, texture dependant, and remember every extra chew helps so be realistic.
3. Don’t skip meals
Often we find ourselves skipping meals to make room for that old favourite, the work Christmas buffet lunch- but this may do more harm than good.
When we skip meals we are more likely to over indulge at the next meal and thus add a big load of extra and unnecessary food to our tummies.
Although the average adult stomach can expand up to four times its usual size, it’s certainly not something we should be testing- particularly for those people who are prone to tummy issues (such as those with IBS) because the added pressure and nutrient load can trigger a cascade of tummy symptoms such as bloating, tummy pain and funky stools.
4. Walk it off
After a big meal the urge of a nana-nap is real. This sedative effect is thought to be the result of several things including our body’s hormone release and the draw of blood from elsewhere in the body, such as our limbs, into our digestive tract to support digestion. In addition, for those prone to acid reflux or heart burn, laying down within a few hours of eating can trigger these symptoms with acid pushing up through the entrance of your stomach and into your food pipe (known as your oesophagus).
TIP: A gentle walk post meal can help support digestion, but remember food takes around 2hrs to leave your stomach (size and type dependent), so doing an intense work out post-feed is just asking for trouble!
5. Hit snooze
If you’re anything like me, when the social events pick up, sleep is the first thing to go out of the window.
But did you know that sleep deprivation can not only leave your hormones in a mess (which for some can increase your susceptibility of tummy symptoms) but research has shown that sleep deprived people consume on average 385kcal extra per day (which is the equivalent of 4.5 slices of bread!).
TIP: Try to merge Christmas parties, the more friends that get together the merrier, right?
So that's it from me this year guys! Good luck and catch up in 2018 for more Gut Health Tips!
Wishing you all a happy Christmas,
To keep updated on the latest gut health news connect with Megan on social media @TheGutHealthDoctor