“Sure go on, it’s Christmas…” is probably the most frequently used “get out of jail free” card over the festive season.
However, finding it hard to say no can have its consequences, particularly on the digestive system with bloating and indigestion being common occurrences over Christmas.
Bloating is caused by an excess gas production and/or disturbances in the movement of digestive muscles after eating- leading to that swollen, uncomfortable and often painful feeling. Bloating is particularly prevalent over “silly season” as people tend to over-indulge more than usual – especially with foods high in sugar and fat. It is important to remember that often our eyes are bigger than our bellies, but that we also shouldn’t feel guilty about eating foods that we enjoy either; everything in moderation as they say!
The top tips that I would recommend to reduce bloating are:
- To avoid eating large volumes in one sitting – eating little and often can avoid the “stuffed” feeling and allows you to control portions better.
- Drink plenty of water- this prevents water retention in the body and also prevents constipation. This is especially beneficial over Christmas, as alcohol can increase the rate of water retention!
- Remember to ensure your fibre intake is still sufficient around this period too, as this also helps to prevent bloating and constipation.
- Limit “trigger foods” as much as possible, for some people these can be: onions, garlic, broccoli or dairy products.
- I would always recommend peppermint tea for bloating as it naturally alleviates cramping and gas while also promoting digestion.
- A hot water bottle is also a good idea to ease the discomfort of bloating. The heat can soothe the tummy and help relieve the build up of gas.
- Exercise can also help banish the bloat, even if it’s a quick walk to get you up and about!
- If you are in need of any medicinal remedies, I would always recommend Gaviscon® Advance or Nexium® for indigestion/heart burn and Senocalm/ Rennie® Deflatine to reduce bloating and cramping. However, it is important that you speak to a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team so they can cater their expert advice to you.
Remember, if you are suffering from stomach upset long term or are experiencing other unusual symptoms such as blood in your stools it is essential that you speak to your GP.
Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy