Christmas and all that it brings might just be your favourite time of year – though, give it four weeks mainlining mulled wine and mince pies and you might grumble something different. But why? The common Christmas bloat. Often triggered by a glut of high-fat food and a pit of sugar, feeling like you need to be popped with a pin is the least comfortable way to round off Christmas.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Spend a moment reading up on how to prevent bloating and there’s a better chance you’ll make it to Boxing Day without crying out for elastic waistbands.
But how? Well, WH readers it mostly comes down to making smart choices in silly season. (However, we’ll caveat that with this: if you think you’re suffering from the symptoms of IBS do seek medical advice.)
Keep reading for how 5 nutritional experts tackle the festive season, which is essentially your crib sheet on how to prevent bloating.
How to prevent bloating: rule 1
Breathe before you binge
Dr Rupy Aujla, author of The Doctors Kitchen (published 28th December 2017)
“If I had one tip to give it would be to practice gratitude before eating. Taking a few deep breaths at the start, to remember how important food is to you and eating slowly are brilliant practices. You improve your bodies ability to digest the food and help recognise satiety. Plus, eating too fast is something I’m definitely guilty of, especially around Christmas. So I make the effort to slowly chew and take mini breaks during a meal to ensure I’m digesting food properly but also taking time to savour the flavours and enjoy the food.
Something we do as a family is to try and guess the ingredients in the dish. You’re more conscious of what has gone into the meal, It naturally slows the process of eating and refines your palette! You’ll be a master chef judge in no time!”
How to prevent bloating: rule 2
Travel with healthy snacks
Ella Woodward, Deliciously Ella blogger
“My tip would be to do have some amazingly delicious, healthy snacks in your kitchen so that you can enjoy all the festive eating and feel fantastic at the same time! I love making big batches of sweet potato brownies, roasted red pepper and paprika hummus and coconut energy bites.’
How to prevent bloating: rule 3
Have your one a day
Nutritionist Lily Soutter on be half of Bowel & Cancer Research
“Most people like to indulge in an alcoholic drink, especially at Christmas and why not? Although it’s clear that alcohol can be a digestive irritant, research suggests that light drinking (one a day) shouldn’t affect your digestive health. Binge drinking (four or more per day) however, may lead to digestive upset and isn’t advised for your health. ‘One drink’ refers to one regular beer, one small glass of wine or one shot of spirit.”
“To curb your intake, try the following in place of your usual favourite drinks;
• A white wine spritzer – add sparking water to your usual measure and enjoy a spritzer instead
• A healthier Vodka/Gin mixer – add sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh lemon or line
• Seedlip – an alcohol-free spirit
• Beetroot and red apple juice with a touch of cinnamon
• Infused water – infused with whatever fruit you like. I recommend berries, cucumber, mint, lemon, lime and ginger”
How to prevent bloating: rule 4
Drink Green Juice
Eve Kalinik, Nutritional Therapist, author of Be Good to Your Gut: The ultimate guide to gut health
“Keep yourself on track with a daily green juice. Life is too short not to indulge a little during the holidays but if you want to feel and look your best in your LBD then make sure you are counteracting it with some goodness too. Hot water and lemon in the morning is also a great way to kick start the digestive system and help shift toxins.”
How to prevent bloating: rule 5
Detox Your Body
Lily Simpson, founder of The Detox Kitchen
“Even with the best intentions, endless Christmas parties and get-togethers can easily lead to overdoing the mulled wine and champagne. My top hangover tip is to try to eat lots of liver cleansing food, since it would have been through a lot the night before. Warm hot water and lemon, garlic, avocado, coriander, and turmeric, are all good for helping the liver’s natural function to detoxify. A big bowl of avocado salad with some cooked carbs, like quinoa or lentils, will all help the recovery process. Also, try to avoid caffeine. A weak cup of coffee may be okay but a lot of caffeine will continue to dehydrate you, the opposite of what you want right now.”
Want more tips to stay in good spirits over the festive season? Check out 15 tips to stay lean over the Christmas period from Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach