roxana10The up-coming holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, New Year) have always been sources of joy, happiness, family harmony, prayers, and, of course, a lot of food! Eating together with the loved ones urges us to consume large amounts of foods that may have serious repercussions on our bodies. Most of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated and uncomfortable after a big, holiday meal.

Cooked meats, stuffed cabbage, smoked fish, boeuf salad with mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, pickles, hot spices…these are just a few examples of what could be found on our tables on any holidays or family dinners. And I am not counting the sodas, sweets and the amount of alcohol that usually go hand in hand with the food fiesta.

Food consumed in excess can overload the body and trigger biliary colic incidents, acute pancreatitis, indigestion or even food poisoning. To prevent illness doctors usually recommend eating balanced meals, taking short breaks-when possible-between food courses, having alcohol, sweets, fatty and salty foods in moderation. Needless to add that one should seek immediate medical attention in case of the first sign of illness.

Studies show that the main culprits that cause bloating are beans, cabbage, onions, broccoli or cauliflower (and this often happens especially over a festive season). Other stomach offenders are artificial sweeteners (found in reduced-calorie, processed foods or diet and decaffeinated drinks), white breads, pastries and carbonated drinks.

Knowing and practicing a few preventative indigestion remedies will help us enjoy life and meals with loved ones even more:

  • Eat slowly and cut down on alcohol and coffee.
  • Eat more alkaline forming foods, combine foods properly and avoid acid forming foods.
  • Keep a diary of food intake and write down any upsetting symptoms, if any. This may reveal some recurring dietary factors that influence your indigestion.
  • Drink water! By staying properly hydrated, your body gets rid of harmful toxins and the sodium balance of your body stays stable (therefore your digestive tract will thank you!).
  • A cup of warm, unsweetened green or dandelion tea, taken after a meal, is known to be a mild diuretic and help digesting the food properly, especially the fatty ones.
  • Many nutritionists advise that we should get about 30 grams of fiber, per day, in our diets. Incorporate fiber-rich foods in your next holiday feast, as fiber helps food to go through the gastrointestinal tract quicker, the end result being a better digestion.
  • Probiotics are recognized to regulate the amount of healthy bacteria in the intestines and regulate bowel movements. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if probiotics could be a good fit for you and try to choose a quality product. Miso soups, soy drinks and some organic yogurts could be great sources of probiotics, so check their labels, if interested.
  • Move around after a big meal. Walk around the neighbourhood after dinner and you might tremendously improve digestion.

These are just a few examples of how to prevent an unsettled stomach after a big family or holiday meal, however, if we pay close attention to the foods we are consuming every day (and making this deliberation a habit) we may eliminate bloating and indigestion all together. Bon appetit!


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