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Tips to Beat The Holiday Bloat

wellness Jan 07, 2022

Part of the fun of the holidays and getting together with loved ones is also the food and drinks, right?! So, if you want to indulge in some holiday treats this season and not spend the next day suffering the consequences - here are some tips to help you beat the holiday bloat!

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

This is probably one of the easiest tips to implement, and often one of the easiest tips we can forget! If you struggle to hit your water goals - change your strategy. Set reminders in your phone, get a water bottle with water goals for certain hours of the day, or text your friends for accountability (make it fun!). Dehydration will cause the body to retain more fluids and also make constipation more likely. A good rule of thumb is adding in an extra glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you drink.

2. Optimize your blood sugar

The way we eat our meals can have a huge impact on our blood sugar. When our body gets more glucose than what we need to use for energy, it can be stored as fat and contribute to excess bloating and feeling sluggish. Remember, whatever goes up must also come down. So, to prevent those blood sugar spikes and crashes, try incorporating some of these strategies that will also benefit digestion, cravings, and energy levels.

  • Eat veggies first, protein second, and carbs last!

  • Including fiber with each meal will help feed our good gut bugs, stimulate our bowels, and reduce the net amount of carbohydrates we absorb.

  • Avoid eating something sugary or carb-heavy on it’s own (even if this means having a small salad, some veggies and hummus, or a protein-filled snack beforehand). This will help curb the glucose spike we would typically experience.

  • Go for a walk after meals. Even a short walk after a heavy meal can offset that glucose spike and stimulate gut motility to reduce bloating.

3. Chew your food!

Digestion begins in our mouths - chewing triggers our saliva to release enzymes that start breaking down food. When we don’t chew properly, we make fewer digestive juices, and it becomes harder to breakdown these foods (likely leading to reduced absorption of the nutrients we’re eating, too). This can lead to increased bloating and indigestion, so don’t scarf those appetizers down! Instead, sit down at the table and focus on the experience - notice the different textures, tastes and smells of different foods.

4. Get those herbs and spices at the ready!

Many botanical herbs and spices have soothing effects on the gut, helping to reduce inflammation, calm indigestion, and prevent or decrease bloating and gas. These are great to cook with or have as teas, and include: ginger, peppermint, fennel, lemonbalm, chamomile, turmeric, and clove.

Bitters also stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid, so we digest our foods better and skip the bloat. Think about incorporating more bitter greens such as arugula, collard, dandelion, mustard greens, watercress, endive and radicchio into your diet. These are great to eat at the beginning of meals for extra digestive support.

5. Consider a digestive enzyme for heavier meals

Adding a digestive enzyme into your holiday routine may help you digest foods you don’t typically eat. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor who can recommend one for you. If you don’t want to add to your supplement routine, apple cider vinegar before meals can also help stimulate the body’s digestive processes and keep blood sugar stable. You can try mixing 1 tablespoon in some water 15-20 minutes before a meal.

Remember, don’t let one indulgent meal be an excuse to sabotage your health routine for the rest of the holidays! Try to balance out other meals in the day with extra nutrients and hydration, and get some fresh air and exercise. Above all, release any guilt around eating, and instead make an effort to incorporate other healthy habits - you don’t need to wait for the New Year!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season,

Dr. Caroline

For more Gut, Skin, and Wellness tips, follow @healthwithcare on Instagram or book a Naturopathic consult wth Dr. Caroline Lewis, ND at https://www.healthywithcare.com/contact.

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