Welcome back to our blog! We’ve finally entered December which means many residents in and around Newark will be planning out delicious holiday meals to share with friends, family, and coworkers. While these savory and sweet foods are part of what makes the holidays so special, they can also cause digestive issues for people of all ages. On top of eating healthy portions of festive foods that tend to be extremely rich and decadent, there are other contributing factors for experiencing holiday stomach troubles, including stress, overindulgence, unusual schedules, and travel. There are ways to fight holiday belly blunders, however, and today, we’ll look at some of the best ways to combat digestive problems.

Indulge in Moderation

One reason why people suffer from holiday digestive discomforts such as bloating, heartburn, and upset stomach is from overindulging in calorie-rich foods that are starchy, sugary, greasy, and salty. These do a number on the digestive system, especially for those who generally eat healthier the rest of the year. While it’s easy to say, “Hey, it’s the holidays, so why not?”, it’s better to indulge in all the delicious goodies in moderation. When snacking at the office party, limit your snacking to small portions and whatever you do, don’t post up next to the food table! That’s a sure way to get trapped into non-stop snacking, which can lead to an upset stomach and bloating. When it comes time to chow down on all the extravagant holiday dinners, stick to smaller portions. Our eyes tend to be much bigger than our appetites and when we fill our plates full of food, we tend to feel bad about wasting any of it. Eat small portions for your first round, then wait about 20 minutes for your food to settle, and if you’re still hungry, go back for seconds (in small portions, of course).  

Make Smart Choices

For many, the holiday season is a time to let loose a bit and put the diet on the backburner. Holiday menus generally include such delectable foods as savory turkey and sweet ham, starchy mashed potatoes complete with rich gravy, salty stuffing, rolls slathered in creamy butter, and of course, dinners are usually followed by sugary desserts. While delicious, these foods can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, prepare healthier side dishes like roasted or steamed veggies, a tossed salad with lots of leafy greens, and carb-friendly sides made with cauliflower. Who says you have to sacrifice taste in order to make healthy eating choices during the holidays?    

Beat the Bloat

Most of you have probably experienced bloating, which causes temporary stomach discomfort due to air being trapped in the abdomen, causing the stomach to distend outward. There are many contributing factors to belly bloat including imbalances in gut bacteria, food allergies, lactose intolerance, eating too fast, drinking carbonated drinks, overeating, and consuming rich foods. To combat belly bloat, one of the best things you can do is to slow it down. While it’s easy to want to pack your entire plate of food into your belly as fast as possible, this is the worst way to eat. Another trick is to incorporate probiotics like yogurt and kombucha into your diet. Keep diuretics like fresh ginger or ginger tea on hand to have before, during, or after rich holiday meals. Peppermint also helps reduce bloating, so keep peppermint tea or candies at the ready. Finally, stay active. Get up, stretch, and take a walk around the block after eating a big meal, which can help with constipation and improve circulation.  

Get Your Fill of Fiber

Fiber isn’t usually on the top of your holiday eating list, but it sure can help maintain a healthy digestive system during the holidays. Fiber helps regulate digestion and blood sugar, improves heart health, and helps you feel fuller for longer, which can help manage overeating. When planning your holiday menu, be sure to include fiber-rich foods like carrots, beans, apples, nuts, and oats. Your gut will thank you!

Stay Active

It’s easy to fall out of normal exercise routines during the holiday season, yet staying active is one of the best ways to fight belly bloat and other stomach troubles. Between all the holiday work parties, happy hours, holiday shopping, and attending special holiday events, it can be hard to find time to go to the gym or to make it to your weekly yoga class. Even if you can’t keep up with your normal workout routines, make time to walk for at least 20-30 minutes three to five times a week. Go outside and toss the Frisbee or football with your kids to get your heart rate going. Take short walks during lunch breaks, or dance around the house while you clean. There are many small ways to incorporate short exercises into your daily routine that will help keep your gut feeling good.

Hydration is Key

Between the glasses of creamy eggnog, flutes of bubbly champagne, and all the other festive adult beverages, people sometimes forget to hydrate. Getting adequate amounts of water during the holidays is key to having a healthy stomach that can help the digestive system function properly. It’s great for energy and for replenishing the system after a night of eating rich foods and drinking celebratory cocktails.

Visit Your Pharmacist in Newark

There are many ways to combat digestive issues that are incredibly common during the holidays. Keeping these tips in mind may help reduce common stomach problems that affect millions of Americans during the holiday season. If you are unsure of any food allergies or simply have questions or concerns about your diet, digestive issues, and more, make an appointment with your pharmacist in Newark. At TIB Pharmacy, we want you to feel your best during the holidays and can meet with you to determine a healthy eating plan that will keep your diet on track during the holidays, so call us today! From all of us at TIB Pharmacy, have a healthy and happy holiday!