The holiday season is a great time for all, with good times, good friends and good food. However, sometimes we pay the price for our indulgence during the season afterwards, especially in terms of digestion. Cramps, bloating, indigestion, pain, all of these can be a consequence of holiday fun throwing your digestion out of whack. When the dust settles, here are a few things you can do to keep from bloat cutting down on your holiday fun.
What Can We Do?
Sometimes, you can minimize the amount of gas you may have by planning ahead. This means avoiding certain foods with a reputation for causing uncomfortable gas and bloating. These include:
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Beans, lentils, and peas
- Whole grains
- Fiber supplements that contain psyllium (Metamucil)
- Sodas and carbonated drinks
Another potential thing to try to do is balance out some of these foods with other food items that help promote relief in the gut and stomach. These include cinnamon, or making a homemade concoction of lemon juice and baking soda. Add this to a glass of water and drink it before your first meal of the morning to try and cut off bloating and gas before they happen. In general, staying hydrated is a good idea, as water plays a role in just about every bodily function, including digestion. Dehydration could throw your digestive process out of sorts.
Another thing to consider doing is drinking more tea. Peppermint tea has menthol that helps calm the muscles of the digestive tract. Ginger tea has shogaols and gingerols, which are chemicals that help the digestive tract unwind and relieves gas. Chamomile tea is well known for its relaxing qualities as well. If you want even more relief, considering adding some cinnamon to your tea for a double dose.
Sometimes, though, you may have issues that stem beyond one or two meals not agreeing with you. Sometimes, there’s issues in your gut at a lower level. The best way to handle this is to try and bring balance to your gut with probiotic supplements.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are a type of bacteria that exist within the body, in many areas including the mouth, stomach, and colon. This may sound a bit unnerving at first, but is a natural part of the body and how it functions. In fact, human cells in the body are outnumbered by microorganisms at a 10 to 1 ratio.1 All these microorganisms, including types of probiotics in the body together are our microbiome, a sort of mini-ecosystem in our body. No microbiome is the same, even with identical twins.
We mentioned before how a microbiome is similar to an ecosystem like any forest or lake near your home. This starts as a blank slate when we are in the womb. After birth, it changes when we come into contact with various microbes. In particular, our diets play a role. Much scientific study has shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in how we digest our food and process nutrients.2 This explains how certain foods, if eaten too much, may cause issues for you that are more difficult to detect than a simple case of heartburn.
Fixing this issue is the role of probiotic supplements. They bring balance back to the body’s ecosystem by reintroducing good bacteria. Studies have shown that this can help deal with common digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome. This is only scratching the surface of the potential of probiotics. Other possible effects include improved immunity, allergies, and even improvements in mood.3 In some cases, certain probiotics are a good match for certain groups, like expecting mothers. After all, if microbes are in all parts of the body, it stands to reason that introducing the best bacteria could stand to improve a number of different systems.
Sometimes, stomach discomfort is just a passing issue. Other times, you need to take a more active approach. If you find yourself having a lot of issues with your digestion or indigestion symptoms, be sure to use some of the techniques covered here, but also consider seeing a physician. They may be able to offer custom advice to your situation, as well as determine if there are any root conditions behind that uncomfortable feeling in your gut.