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Christmas bloat: How to tackle bloating after eating a lot

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash

Bloating is the worst.

When you feel uncomfortably full and gassy, or have stomach pain after eating, there’s often little you can do about it other than wait for it to pass.

That might mean you’re experiencing some slightly embarrassing bodily noises and odours as the excess air makes its way out of your body.

But the worst part of bloating is the discomfort. It can cause stomach pain and a distended belly, and just make you feel generally a bit rubbish – which isn’t what you want after all the fun of Christmas Day.

So, if you’re struggling with bloating right now – are there any home remedies you can try to make yourself feel better?

How to reduce bloating

It’s probably not the advice you really want to hear, but the experts suggest being a bit careful when it comes to rich food.

James Kinross is a consultant colorectal surgeon at King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, he says fatty foods and processed foods, or too much sugar, can be a real trigger.

‘Things like pigs in blankets, or picking at a selection box can lead to bloating, so instead try to opt for a balanced diet over Christmas, with plant-based options, which will give your gut the diversity it needs to function properly,’ James tells Metro.co.uk.

‘If you have overindulged though, as many of us do, keeping active can also help to beat Christmas bloating and stimulate the digestive system. Rather than sitting down to enjoy a Christmas film after dinner, try getting up to go for a 45-minute walk.’

It’s not just the food we need to watch out for either, what we’re drinking can have a big impact on the bloat.

‘Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water if you want to enjoy alcohol, which disrupts the balance of bacteria within the gut and its ability to function,’ says James.

‘Drinking an excessive amount makes it difficult for your body to break down and digest nutrients. So, if you want to enjoy a drink or two, try alternating in between with a glass of water.’

There are a few other steps you take to try to cut down on festive bloating. Firstly, try cutting down on foods known to cause wind and bloating, such as beans, onions, cabbage, sprouts and cauliflower.

If you get constipation alongside your bloating, the NHS suggests adding more fibre to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly. Even a 20-30 minute brisk walk, four times a week can improve your bowel function.

You should also try to think about how you’re eating. Slowing down can make a big difference, as well as sitting down to eat and cutting down how much you’re talking during a meal – because this can cause you to swallow air as you eat.

‘If you notice you’re bloating very often, or if it is especially painful, or any other new and persistent symptoms, you should go and see a doctor,’ says James.

‘And you should also seek help if you are experiencing symptoms such as weight loss or a persistent change in your bowel habits.

‘I always tell my patients to listen to their bodies. If something doesn’t feel right, or you’ve noticed changes lasting for more than a couple of weeks, it’s best to get it checked out.’



The Christmas foods that cause the worst bloating

Festive food that is typically high in fat, carbs or non-digestible carbs like fibre are the worst contenders for causing excessive wind.

This Origym analysis looks at the fibre, carbohydrate, and sugar content in festive staples, alongside their other gas-inducing qualities. From this, the nutritional experts have ranked the drinks and dishes you’ll want to avoid overindulging on this festive period:

Prosecco
Fizzy alcoholic beverages can make you feel overly gassy because of the surplus of bubbles. As you drink, you’re likely to swallow gulps of air that gets trapped in your gastrointestinal tract and can only be let out in the form of belching or farting.

Cabbage 
Cabbage is a Christmas dinner essential for many. However, when cooked, cabbage may be the reason you start to hear rumbling noises down below.

High in all three of the non-digestible carb food types, this green, leafy vegetable is one of the worst festive foods for causing rigorous bowel movements.

Cabbage also contains organic sulphur compounds called glucosinolates that break down in the intestines and form other compounds like hydrogen sulphide, these cause you to pass gas more frequently.

Green beans 
Although baked beans are the usual suspects for causing flatulence, green beans are part of the legume family, so they’re also likely to be the reason you find yourself gassy after your Christmas dinner.

As they’re high in carbs (7g) and sugars (3.3g), they may be the reason for your after-dinner bloat or stomach pain. In particular, green beans contain types of complex sugars called raffinose and stachyose that are known for triggering digestive problems and unwanted gas.

Sprouts 
Love them or hate them, sprouts are always featured on Christmas dinner plates across the country. For years, sprouts have been given a bad rap for causing flatulence and while they are one of the more fart-prompting foods in a festive dinner, they only rank number 7 on this list.

Although high in carbs (7.1g), sprouts may cause you to break wind because they contain high amounts of cellulose which digestive systems can struggle to process. Not only that but when the stomach and intestine attempt to break down bacteria in the sprouts, they release a number of gases including nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Eggnog
Despite having 0g of fibre, eggnog contains two gas-prompting ingredients: milk and alcohol. Milk is a major contributor to flatulence and when paired with a sugary dark spirit like rum or brandy it can cause even more of an upset stomach.

Both components of the festive drink play a part in producing gas in your digestive system – even if you’re not lactose-intolerant, dairy products can tend to leave you feeling gassy and bloated.

Cauliflower cheese
Like eggnog, cauliflower cheese contains two flatulence-causing ingredients. Coupled with its high-fat content, this festive comfort food ranks high on the list.

As a cruciferous vegetable, the sulphur found in cauliflower can produce a gassy effect and cause a huge amount of flatulence.

Pigs in blankets 
Pigs in blankets contain a high fat and meat content, which slows digestion and extends the amount of time food stays in your gut to digest and release gases.

The popular side dish also contains sulphur, which is consumed by the bacteria in your digestive system and turned into hydrogen sulphide, causing excess gas and eggy-smelling farts.

Stuffing
Homemade or from a packet, stuffing contains two FODMAP ingredients – garlic and onion. Both of which are fermentable, short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) known as fructans. They cause excessive gas and flatulence, especially to those with a sensitive digestive lining.

In small doses, stuffing can be a tasty addition to any festive plate, but if you want to prevent the bloat then it may be worth avoiding too much of the herby mixture.

Cheeseboard 
Coming in with a high-fat content of 35g, cheese boards are one of the biggest contributors to flatulence and bloating.

If you’re a lover of the smelly stuff, then you’re more likely to suffer the consequences too. Strong cheeses like stilton contain some of the highest fat content, which contributes to excess gas since they prolong stomach-emptying. This, combined with the issues dairy presents, make this food one of the most likely culprits to cause you to break wind in front of your party guests.

Christmas pudding
Ranking in first place is perhaps the most traditional festive food on the list. With a high sugar and booze content, the Xmas pud could leave you feeling very bloated and windy.

Loaded with dried fruit, almonds, butter and spice, the festive dessert is undoubtedly delicious, but it is high in natural sugar or ‘fructose’. The majority of people can’t properly break down the sugars in dried fruit, and so, excess gas is produced as a byproduct.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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