While a classic Christmas lunch is something to be cherished, the after effects are usually less so. Belt undone, feeling a bit sluggish in the midst of a Netflix binge might well be the usual run of things, but this year is going to be different, right?
To help you sort it out at home, we spoke to nutritionist Rick Hay who gave us five simple, natural ways to ease the pain.
1. Cut out processed foods, sugar and dairy
Processed foods may be convenient but are loaded with additives, artificial colours, sodium, bulking agents, preservatives and artificial sweeteners. These interrupt digestion and can lead to bacterial imbalance in the large and small intestines, which in turn leads to bloating.
Sugar has a similar effect. Too much of it can lead to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria and non-beneficial bacteria and therefore, bloating. Don’t be fooled by sweeteners, they disrupt the gut flora as well and can also cause gas and bloating. Same goes for dairy.
Milk, cheese and other dairy products can be a source of intestinal distress, especially for people with lactose intolerance. On days when your body is already working hard to get back into homeostasis dairy is better to be avoided.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking lots of water can potentially reduce bloating. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can halt digestion and intensify the bloat.
When your body tries to counterbalance the effects of electrolyte imbalances, it holds on to excess water. Coconut water and mineral water can help fuel the body again and move toxins along.
3. Light workout
Exercise won't cure things completely, and heavy sweating might cause you to dehydrate even more so we don’t recommend that. But a light workout such as yoga, pilates or a walk in the park might work wonders. It can counteract some of the side effects of too much partying so you get over your bloat and aches faster.
Gentle physical activity can help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract help to release toxins.
4. Take probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms promoting a healthy digestive tract and immune system. They are the so called friendly, good, or healthy bacteria and are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut.
Eating fermented foods with live probiotics can have powerful benefits for the body, especially your digestion. Try sauerkraut, kimchi or miso to help your gut flora.
Taking a probiotic supplement may also help to regulate the colon bacteria and alleviate the bloat.
5. Eat in nutrient rich foods
After a period of excess and little sleep, your body craves nutrients. Eggs are full of amino acids, such as cysteine and taurine.
Cysteine can help clear toxins from your body after your liver has done its job of processing the badness. Taurine boosts the Liver’s functions and helps protect it.
Leafy greens and bananas contain potassium, an important electrolyte that is often depleted after a weekend of drinking. Pop some spinach and a banana into a blender, add some protein powder and get ready to feel lifted and shifted.