Ways To Settle Your Stomach This Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches, you will likely host and attend events and gatherings with family, friends, neighbors, and other close relations. This festive time of the year is when people share good spirits, while creating happy and lasting memories.
The holidays also carry the potential to wreak havoc with your digestive tract. Luckily, you might avoid this possible seasonal downer by following some specific stomach-settling suggestions.
Reasons The Holidays Might Negatively Influence Your Digestive System
Major holidays like Thanksgiving or gatherings like Christmas parties can hurt your digestive function because of the many factors shown below.
- Heavy Foods Are Served – You typically eat rich foods containing significant amounts of fat and sugar. Fatty and sugary foods greatly slow the digestive process. They might trigger various digestive issues, including abdominal discomfort, bloating, excess gas buildup, and constipation. The consumption of excessive fat can also lead to significant weight gain.
- Diminished Fiber Intake – Holiday foods are not known for possessing large fiber quantities. This nutrient is integral to proper digestive flow and the regularity of stool elimination. It is not uncommon for seasonal revelers to experience many bouts of constipation and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.
- Larger Portions Are Consumed – The holidays are a time to let loose and enjoy yourself. You will likely eat a bit more than usual at these festive gatherings. Thanksgiving dinners and holiday parties usually offer larger portions and a wider variety of food to choose from. The combination of abundance and temptation typically causes overindulgence and gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Stress – Though happy for most people, the holidays often create some stress. Stress negatively influences the digestive system and often leads to uncomfortable and bothersome symptoms. Specific stressors include:
- Meeting additional demands.
- Personal conflicts.
- Anxiety And Depression – The holidays can be painful for some people. If you recently lost a loved one, are lonesome, or are dealing with any type of hardship, watching everyone around you celebrate and enjoy life when you simply cannot often prove challenging and hurtful. Feelings of emotional pain and isolation often result in anxiety and depression, capable of causing digestive problems.
- Excitement And Anticipation – Positive emotions like excitement and anticipation create good feelings. Overexuberance can lead to a nervous stomach.
Stomach-Settling Methods to Use During the Holidays
You may be able to avoid holiday-driven digestive system issues by following safeguards such as:
- Act In Moderation – It is the holidays. So, it’s okay to indulge in a slice or two of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or Christmas cookies from time to time. But moderate your intake of red-flag foods like heavy desserts and rich gravies.
- Don’t Abandon the Healthy Stuff – If you plan to dabble in holiday treats, be sure to counterbalance them with healthy and nutritious edibles such as grain products, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. These foods contain important health-maintaining, easy-to-digest nutrients.
- Consume Smaller Meals – Doctors and nutritionists urge you to consume several smaller meals per day versus two or three large servings. Such efforts regulate your blood sugar and prevent you from overeating.
- Exercise Regularly – You have likely heard doctors lauding the benefits of routine physical fitness. But you might not realize that regular exercise is vital to proper digestive flow and regularity.
- Eat Slowly – You may recall an older adult instructing you to eat slowly when you were young. Many of us dismiss such advice. In reality, doing so allows your gastrointestinal system to digest food at a normal rate. Quick-paced food consumption stresses your gut and increases your risk of developing bothersome symptoms.
- Take Probiotic Supplements – Your gut contains millions of bacteria. Not all bacteria are bad. Certain organisms play a crucial role in optimal digestion. When the levels of these beneficial lifeforms decline, digestive issues may result. Taking probiotic supplements helps your gut maintain the proper balance between good and bad bacteria.
- Limit Stress – Stress can be difficult to avoid at any time, much less during the holiday season. Productive stress-relieving activities might either eliminate or lessen the digestive impact of such tension. Common stress-busting activities include:
- Playing sports.
- Engaging in mind-stimulating games.
- Limit Vices – Avoid potentially bad vices like smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages. While they might produce a quick calm, they could hurt your gastrointestinal system and overall well-being.
- Not Lying Down Following Meals – If you lie down too quickly after a meal, stomach acid is more likely to flow into your esophagus, resulting in heartburn, belching, and food regurgitation.
Actions To Take If Stomach Troubles Start
Despite your best efforts, you still might encounter an upset stomach or two during the upcoming holidays. When stricken, you might be able to ease your discomfort through remedies, including:
- Over-The-Counter Preparations – Over-the-counter antacids may relieve digestive problems caused by food or beverage overindulgence.
- Natural Products – Many natural ingredients, such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, contain soothing properties known to quell stomach issues.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Taking small amounts of apple cider vinegar mixed with water neutralizes stomach acid and relieves digestive discomfort.
- Water – Staying properly hydrated improves digestion and enables the body to absorb nutrients faster and more efficiently.
- Plain-Tasting Foods – Eating heavily spiced or processed foods will likely worsen your symptoms. Instead, eat plain foods containing few, if any, spices or chemical preservatives, like rice and chicken.
When To Consult Your Doctor
Holiday stomach upset is short-lived and responds favorably to home remedies. Should these problems linger or be accompanied by other alarming symptoms such as unintentional weight loss, bleeding in your stools, worsening abdominal pain or discomfort, swallowing difficulties, coughing, a persistent sore throat, or increasing incidents of diarrhea or constipation, you should call us immediately.
Our practice began more than 15 years ago and has emerged as one of the leading gastroenterology practices in central Florida. We perform a host of diagnostic procedures using state-of-the-art equipment in a friendly, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere where patient care is always a top priority. Contact us today!