Whether it’s food, drinks or the behaviours that we indulge in over Christmas, we have compiled 8 alternatives and tips to help you beat the bloat this Christmas!
1. Festive Feasting
Did you know average adult gets through 6000 calories on Christmas Day alone!
The large meals that we eat over Christmas require our digestive systems to work harder. Overeating is all too easy with the constant flow of food and drinks.
Tip: Slowing down to give your brain a chance to receive the fullness signal from your digestive system could help you to avoid overeating during your Christmas feasting. Try smaller meals to see if this leaves you feeling more comfortable.
2. Christmas chocolate box
The high sugar and milk content of the family favourite chocolate sharing box can trigger bloating and gas due to the fermentation of the sugars in your gut .
Swap: Sugary milk chocolate selections can be replaced with dark chocolate with a lower sugar content and a higher percentage of cocoa. Lycopene in dark chocolate can increase the good gut bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.
3. Fizzy Beverages
The excess gas consumed with carbonated drinks can lead to bloating as the gas is released from the liquid when it reaches your stomach. Try to alternate these drinks with a glass of still water.
Swap: Instead of beer, champagne, or cider, try a red wine or non-alcoholic red grape drink – a source of polyphenols.
These are compounds found naturally in a lot of foods. The polyphenols found from red grape products such as wine, interact with the good gut bacteria and can help maintain gut health !
Alternatively, if you want a glass of natural fizz, try Kombucha for a good bacteria hit when raising a glass this Christmas.
For alcohol advice, including UK alcohol unit guidelines, information on how drink affects your health and much more, visit DrinkAware.
4. Pigs in Blankets
A favourite addition to the Christmas dinner or a Christmas party buffet, yet the high sodium content causes water retention, leading to that bloated feeling.
Swap: To reduce the salt content of this classic Christmas food, try prunes wrapped in bacon instead. Not only does this minimise the salt content of the item, but prunes are also great for maintaining bowel function. Prunes can increase bifidobacteria, a type of good gut bacteria .
5. Fatty foods
Cheeseboards, fried buffet party foods and cream-based puddings are high in fat! These festive favourites slow digestion and gastric emptying, triggering bloating.
Tip: Add grapes and figs to your cheese board to fill you up and reduce the amount of cheese you eat.
6. Sweets and treats
You may think that switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners may be beneficial, but sugar alcohols used as sweeteners can cause bloating like symptoms due to feeding bacteria in the gut that produces gas. Sorbitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols found in sweets.
Swap: Try making your own sweet treat with gut-loving ingredients! Unsalted or unsweetened roasted nuts with cinnamon have a wintery flavour. Cinnamon can promote the growth of good gut bacteria and suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
7. Post-dinner nap
Although going for a nap may feel like the only thing you want to do when you have finished a big meal, lying down can trap more gas and lead to retention of gas.
Swap: Go for a Post-dinner walk instead of your usual nap because gentle exercise stimulates the movement of gas through the gut and reduces bloating.
8. Brussels Sprouts
Unfortunately, although they are packed full of nutrients, some vegetables, such as our humble sprouts, are difficult to break down and cause gas production.
Tip: The fibre in vegetables like Brussels sprouts is great for your gut and they include a lot of useful nutrients. If you enjoy eating these vegetables but want to avoid bloating, reduce your portion size. Alternatively, instead of your usual brussels sprouts with pancetta, try spinach and ricotta as a side dish for your Christmas Day lunch.