Holiday food is delicious, but it can really do a number on the old digestive system.
Between Christmas parties, cocktails and the occasional mid-day cookie binge, you may find your belly isn’t feeling its best.
Just a few tweaks to your daily habits can change that – and none of them involve giving up holiday indulgences!
Below are some proven ways to beat holiday bloat.
5 Ways to Beat Bloating
1. Don’t eat right before bed. Your digestive system needs to rest at night, just like you do. If you stop eating a couple hours before hitting the hay, and then get a good night’s sleep, your belly has the time it needs to reset and be ready for the next day’s work. Aim for at least an 8-10 hour overnight stretch without eating.
3. Eat yogurt everyday. Yogurt isn’t better than other fermented foods, but it is widely available and easy to integrate into meals and snacks – so it’s easier to make a habit of yogurt-eating. Try to buy plain, organic yogurt (which you can sweeten with honey or jam if needed) since it delvers the most nutritional bang for your buck.
4. Drink plenty of water. Belly bloat (and constipation) can begin or get worse with dehydration. Keep track of your water consumption and make special effort to drink at least eight glasses everyday.
5. Banish bubbles. If you tend toward bloating, avoid carbonated beverages (except kombucha which is naturally slightly bubbly) which can increase gas. You may also want to avoid chewing gum, which can make you swallow more air.
6. Eat naturally-occurring fiber. Plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and in-tact whole grains can help keep things moving smoothly. Don’t be fooled by processed foods with “extra fiber” or “added fiber” – these contain synthetic fiber which can actually make bloating and constipation worse.
7. Consider a probiotic supplement. If you’re not a frequent eater of fermented foods, you may benefit from a probiotic supplement. However, not all probiotic supplements are the same! My favorite one is Bio-K+, which is essentially like a super concentrated kefir. It’s expensive but even 1/4 of a container each day can make a difference in your digestion (and may help the immune system, too).
And I can’t leave without saying: remember to choose your indulgences wisely! Partaking in every holiday treat will leave you feeling terrible, in more ways than one, but enjoying only the things you really love will help keep you healthy.