6 Ways to Look Out for Your Digestive Health Over the Holidays
The holidays are a time for celebrating, and whenever celebrations occur, foods and drinks are often the main events. Unfortunately, the decadent food and large portion sizes can spell trouble for your digestive health over the holidays. Mix indulgent eating and drinking with the stress of the holiday hustle and bustle, and it’s no surprise that GI symptoms worsen during this festive season. To help your GI system stay healthy and happy this time of year, we’re sharing some steps you can take to care of your digestive health over the holidays.
Maintain your routine
The holiday season tends to throw off your typical routine. Changes to your sleep schedule, when you eat, and how much you eat can all lead to gastrointestinal issues and discomfort. One of the best ways to care for your digestive health over the holidays is by maintaining your typical routine as closely as possible and by paying attention to your body. If you know that a certain dessert triggers digestive symptoms, the holidays should not be an excuse to indulge. On the other hand, if you know that you’re going to eat more than normal for dinner, you can offset discomfort by eating light and healthy throughout the day.
If exercise is part of your daily routine, try your best to stay consistent throughout the holiday season, but if exercise is not a habit of yours, then it’s time to start to ward off any uncomfortable GI symptoms. While all you may want to do following a meal is nap, moving your body can actually be a great way to ease bloat and gas. Many forget that the digestive tract is also a muscle, so by moving after a meal, you encourage blood flow to aid in the digestion process, easing discomfort.
With as much food as there is over the holidays, there are also various alcoholic beverages present at most holiday gatherings. Alcohol is a major gastric irritant, and it can also make you feel hungry, leading to overeating. While there is nothing wrong with raising a glass in most cases, it’s important to monitor and stay mindful of how much you are drinking. In addition to alcohol, cold weather typically means that we are not staying as hydrated as we should. Dehydration can lead to a slow-moving digestive tract, and when you combine inadequate water intake with drinking too much alcohol, the effects can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Control your portion sizes
It’s easy to go back for seconds at a holiday dinner, but overeating is one of the main culprits for problems with digestive health over the holiday season. Taking time to portion out your plate, including lots of vegetables, and taking your time to enjoy your meal rather than eating as much as you can lead to better digestive health and less uncomfortable GI symptoms later on.
Save room for fiber
One of the main problems with holiday meals is the lack of fiber. When food has low fiber content, it is easier to overeat and more difficult to digest. If your holiday dinner menu is full of decadence and lacking fiber, try to seek out appetizers like vegetable plates, salads, or plant-based soups to keep your digestive system on track and to avoid overeating at dinner time.
Don’t overdo it
In addition to watching portion sizes, it’s important to monitor what you’re eating. The holidays are full of desserts, treats, and other rich festive dishes that may trigger certain GI problems or difficulties with digestion. If you choose to indulge in your favorite holiday treat, you can minimize problems by eating smaller portions later.
Consult a Gastroenterologist
The team at Birmingham Gastroenterology specializes in a wide variety of gastrointestinal issues. When it comes to selecting a gastroenterologist, we have decades of experience to provide you with the highest quality of care. If you are having trouble with your digestive health, Birmingham Gastroenterology can help. Whether it’s a procedure or you’re just looking for ways to optimize your digestive health over the holidays, our team is here to help. To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, call us at (205) 271-8000.