Feeling stuffed? We chat to two health and nutrition experts to help you beat the festive bloat
If you're anything like us, Christmas Day won't be the first time in December you're eating a Christmas dinner; from work parties to celebrations with friends, many of us end up tucking into several Christmas dinners before the big day is even upon us.
While there's nothing we love like eating a full, home-cooked roast, (or a restaurant cooked one, for that matter), there's no denying it can leave us a little bloated and having to undo the top button on our new velvet Zara trousers - not the glam festive season we imagined!
So what can you do to beat the post-feast bloat and offset the side effects of a few festive excesses? We asked fitness, health and nutrition expert Dalton Wong and nutritional therapist Belinda Mann for their top tips for defeating indigestion, a bloated stomach and overcoming the odd overindulgence.
With their help, you’ll be back on track and feeling a whole lot better in no time, so this Christmas Day can be both a healthier and more comfortable one no matter how much you've eaten.
5 ways to avoid the Christmas dinner bloat
Dalton Wong of Twenty Two Training shares his top five tips to bear in mind before the big meal of the day (or of course, any given Sunday roast).
Tip 1: Chew your food properly
Faced with a fork with pigs in blankets and roast potatoes (or nut roast and carrots), it can be tempting to wolf down your food, ready for the next delicious mouthful, but take your time with chewing. “Make sure that you chew your food, digestion starts in your mouth,” says Dalton.
Tip 2: Add lemon to your food
As well as in your gin and tonic, lemon has another place in your Christmas dinner. “Squeeze a little lemon juice on your turkey as it helps start the breakdown of the protein,” advises Dalton.
Tip 3: Be sensible with your portions
Who are we to tell you to limit your portions on December 25th? It's one of the best meals of the year after all! However, don't overload your plate too hastily - it'll still be there for a second helping (unless you have particularly ravenous relatives).
“Your eyes are often bigger than your belly, so don't overfill your plate," says Dalton. "Start off with a normal portion of food then go back for seconds if needed.”
Tip 4: Drink herbal tea
“Have a herbal tea after your meal," advises Dalton. "My favourite digestive teas are ginger, peppermint and senna. Senna is a great tea that can really help get your digestive system moving as it’s a natural laxative. Neal's Yard has a great selection. ”
And if it's too late and you're already bloated...
“ Ginger is the perfect antidote for indigestion, " says Belinda Mann, nutritional therapist. "It helps to soothe an upset stomach as well as helping with digestive cramps and bloating. As with most things in nutrition, fresh is best and in the case of serious indigestion, leftover ginger ale isn’t going to cut it - you need the real deal for this cure to really work its magic.
“It’s the spicy natural oils in the ginger that makes the difference - yes that means gingernut biscuits are out too. Slice a load of ginger root and some lemon to make a delicious pot of tea to sip through the afternoon."
“Alternatively if you are still in cocktail making mode, you might have the ambition to whizz up this digestive tonic in your blender: combine 1/4 head of lettuce, 1/2 banana, 1 ripe pear, 1/2 inch slice of ginger root, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a cup of almond milk and blend until smooth.”
Sure your bloating is down to something you've eaten? Troubleshoot it with our guide to the most common bloating foods