It’s officially the season of overindulgence, and who doesn’t look forward to feasting with friends and family – but with that also comes the inevitable belly bloat.
Ravinder Lilly, nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences says, “With the toxic load of saturated fat, sugar and alcohol consumed over Christmas, there’s little wonder why we find ourselves suffering from a full and sluggish gut. Thankfully, there are a couple of strategies available to fight the silly-season stomach swell.”
Ravinder shares her top tips to beat the belly bloat this holiday season:
1. Get out there
Some of us, on occasion, eat to the unbearable point of being unable to move. And although it may be tempting to wallow in our bloated abyss, one way of speeding the rate at which food moves through the system is to take a post-meal stroll.
2. Pop a peppermint
Indigestion can result from eating too much, eating too quickly, opting for too many high-fat foods, and too much alcohol/caffeine. Peppermint flavoured candies, breath mints or tea can relieve gas, indigestion and nausea. But peppermint is not the best option if you have heartburn. That’s because peppermint, as well as caffeine and alcohol, can weaken the oesophageal sphincter so that stomach acid is able to splash up causing worsening heartburn.
3. An after-dinner drink for digestion
Caffeine-free chicory-root tea can soothe your mood, and possibly also your digestive tract. Chicory, which generally has a roasted-coffee taste, is known among herbalists as an effective means to move things along. Chamomile tea is similarly soothing on the digestive system. Green tea is another fabulous option – it contains healthy antioxidants called catechins. And, by adding citrus juice or vitamin C, it boosts the bioavailability of these beneficial compounds. These healthy chemicals are associated with a lower risk of cancers whilst boosting heart and brain health.
4. Don’t look to laxatives
It’s an unfortunate misconception that taking laxatives will help to push food out of the system by quickly emptying an overstuffed gastrointestinal system. The truth of the matter is laxatives help to empty the colon. The food you’ve just consumed, however, is in your stomach. For food to reach your stomach through your small intestine can take several hours, so taking a laxative certainly won’t make you feel any less full. Instead, opt for wholegrain foods – the less processed, the more fibre is retained in foods like wholegrain bread and brown rice.
Ms Lilly also recommends the following products:
USANA® Probiotic which contains two types of beneficial bacteria which help to complete the process of digestion, produce vitamins B and K and aid mineral absorption. Beneficial bacteria also play an important role in boosting your immune function.
Try a fibre supplement like USANA’s Fibergy. It’s hugely rich in fibre so try a spoonful or two on your breakfast cereal or stirred into small juice. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to help the fibre move waste effectively out of the body, too.