Do you feel bloated from all the holiday food? To find relief, use this fast advice from health professionals.
It’s easier than you would imagine reducing post-meal bloat.
Juan Moyano and Stocksy, iStock
Is your indulgent side coming out around the holidays? It can happen, and you can feel full from all the food towards the conclusion of your Christmas dinner.
Don’t panic if practicing portion control wasn’t a part of your plan and you now feel like your stomach has tripled in size. Brigham and Women’s Hospital claims that your stomach hasn’t truly swollen all that much. It’s most likely just gas, though. According to Chicago-based owner and gut health specialist Rachel Doyle, RDN, of RAD Nutrition, “it’s caused by too much air or gas in the gastrointestinal tract.” When we eat, our bodies digest carbohydrates and ferment their fiber, which results in the production of gas that can cause bloating.
Despite how unpleasant it is, there’s usually nothing to be concerned about. Bloating often isn’t a major indicator, especially if it only happens after heavy meals, according to Pam Fullenweider, RD, the owner of Fully Mediterranean in Houston.
However, if the pain persists, see your doctor to rule out anything more serious. “It’s always a good idea to examine your bloating further with a doctor or dietician to identify the underlying cause and rule out any underlying medical concerns,” Fullenweider advises.
But even common bloating can be uncomfortable. The good news is that you don’t need to just wait it out while you squirm in your chair. To get rid of bloating and resume your holiday fun, use these seven fast methods.
1. Stay Hydrated
When you feel as though your stomach is going to burst, drinking water is usually the last thing you want to do. But according to Doyle, “hydration is very vital for minimizing bloating.” Constipation and bloating frequently go hand in hand, so it is crucial to keep your digestive tract functioning properly for regular bowel movements.
Bloating risk can be impacted by what you consume. And frequently, consuming foods high in salt leads to bloating. According to Harvard Health Publishing, sodium causes bloating and is most likely responsible for it because it induces water retention. After eating, you should drink water to counteract the sodium and assist your body in stopping the retention of fluids. Drinking water may help minimize bloat by flushing the body of extra sodium, despite the fact that this may seem counterintuitive, according to Fullenweider. Before a meal, you might find that drinking water might help prevent bloating. This action may also have the added benefit of lowering your propensity to overeat. A tiny study on females, released in Clinical Nutrition Research in 2018, suggested that those who drank water before a mealtime consumed less food but were just as satisfied as people who did not.
2. Take a Walk
Elena Get some exercise after a large dinner rather than going straight to the couch advises Fullenweider. “A quick walk can encourage stomach movement and lessen bloating.” A stroll after a meal has been proven in studies to hasten stomach emptying. Doyle advises that you should be able to relax for five to ten minutes. If exercise is a regular part of your routine, you’ll be even better off. According to Temple Health, regular exercise can keep the walls of your large intestine toned and allow for simple stool passage.
3 Cut Back on Alcohol
After supper, you might be tempted to pour yourself another beverage, but doing so won’t relieve your bloated tummy. According to Fullenweider, alcohol “may impede digestion and increase water retention.” Alcohol can cause the body to become dehydrated over time and will initially increase the amount of urination required, according to the nonprofit Christian healthcare system Providence. When you’re dehydrated, your body instructs you to hold onto water, which is how you get that bloated feeling in your abdomen. Skip the post-meal cocktail for the time being (or just have one). In the end, you’re better off sticking with water to minimize tummy bloat.
4. Steer Clear of Carbonation
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You might believe that drinking a carbonated beverage, such as seltzer or soda, will improve your mood by making you burp, but all it does is add more gas to your body. The culprits are the bubbles. You become bloated when they become trapped in your stomach, according to Providence.
5. Pour Yourself Some Tea
Doyle advises drinking peppermint, ginger, or fennel tea to prevent abdominal bloat. According to Fullenweider, “These teas offer various characteristics, which may relax the digestive tract and reduce bloating and gas.” According to Mount Sinai, peppermint can relieve bloating by relaxing the muscles involved in painfully releasing gas. However, avoid consuming peppermint tea if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or a hiatal hernia because it could have the opposite effect and cause stomach acids to back up into the esophagus. Consider drinking ginger tea instead because earlier studies have indicated that it could hasten stomach emptying. Another effective choice that has been demonstrated to aid with a variety of gastrointestinal problems is fennel, according to a prior review.
6. Ease into a Yoga Pose
Once the dessert has been finished, find a quiet area to stretch your body. Gentle yoga practices like Child’s pose or Cat/Cow can ease the discomfort that comes with bloating, according to Doyle. She advises holding each pose for five full breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth) and then repeating the sequence until you experience some relief. Allow your tummy to fully enlarge with each inhalation, says Doyle. The parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest-and-digest mode,” is activated by doing this, which is calming and improves digestion.
7. Avoid Gum
Bloating and gas might result from swallowing too much air, according to Fullenweider. According to Michigan Medicine, if you eat or drink too quickly, drink carbonated beverages, or chew gum, more air enters your system. According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, if that air becomes trapped in the colon or small intestine, you get bloating and gas. Avoid chewing gum while celebrating the holidays to prevent adding extra air to your system.