Are you dreading the upcoming holiday season? With all of the eating involved, it’s no surprise that digestive upset is pretty common during the holiday season. The social gatherings, travel, and rich foods surrounding the holidays can leave you experiencing a little regret over all that indulgence and this isn’t just about putting on a few pounds. Many holidays foods are high in saturated fats and sugars, not only is the food not-so-healthy, overconsumption can stress the digestive system and cause bloating, gas, constipation, acid reflux, or heartburn.
Discover the Top Tips to Avoid Overdoing It This Holiday Season
Avoid Trigger Foods
Some foods that are known to cause digestive issues are wheat (gluten), dairy, refined sugars & flours, alcohol, caffeine, soy, and fried foods. It is easy to convince yourself that it’s okay to eat unhealthy things around the holidays because it’s a “special occasion”, but if you’re not used to eating those foods in large quantities, it could spell disaster. If you have specific food sensitivities, ask about the recipes of suspected foods or avoid them altogether.
Eating too fast can lead to heartburn, bloating, and overeating. Try to be mindful while eating at holiday parties. Take the time to savor each bite and enjoy the experience of eating indulgent foods. You will be less likely to overeat and avoid the digestive discomforts that accompany “speed-eating.”
Maintain Your Exercise Schedule
With all of the “special events” during the holiday season, it can be easy to throw your regular routine out the window. However, research has shown that regular exercise is good for digestive health, so don’t skip your early morning run just because your parents are visiting from out of town or develop a plan to fit in exercise around holiday activities.
The holiday season is inherently stressful. If the thought of planning the perfect holiday celebration, shopping for the perfect presents, or baking the perfect pumpkin pie sends you into a cold sweat, you’re not alone. When you’re under stress, the body’s natural response is to reroute blood to vital organs, like your heart and your brain, and away from non-vital organs, like your digestive tract. This slows down your normal rate of digestion, leading to unpleasant GI symptoms. Try to take a step back and remember that it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect. The most important part is the quality time you spend with your loved ones.
If you didn’t follow any of the suggestions above and are suffering from indigestion, bloating, and/or gas after a heavy meal, try enjoying a cup of hot tea. Peppermint, ginger, chamomile, and fennel tea can all aid in digestion. But be sure to avoid peppermint if you have heartburn or acid reflux because it can make your symptoms worse.
Seasonal digestive distress may be common, but it certainly isn’t necessary. Follow the tips above to ward off unpleasant gastrointestinal consequences. If you’re noticing persistent digestive symptoms that don’t revolve around holiday celebrations, contact Tulsa Endoscopy Center to see a board-certified gastroenterologist about your issues.