4 Simple Tips to Beat the Holiday Bloat
While it can certainly feel good to enjoy indulgent holiday treats in the moment, you may find yourself paying the price afterwards. Because we know a bloated tummy or embarrassing gas isn’t on anyone’s wishlist, we’ve rounded up 4 simple tips to beat the holiday bloat – keeping you both merry and light this holiday season!
The first step to banishing the bloat is to take a look at both what and how much you’re eating. Of course it’s the holidays which are meant to be enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean you should go off the deep end for an entire season!
Being mindful about food choices begins by avoiding the common mistake of missing regular meals and snacks with the intention of using up your calories for your holiday meals (aka – binging). This method almost always backfires and results in low blood sugars paired with eating way too much in one sitting – a major cause for digestive upset and bloat. A much better bet to avoid overindulging, while still enjoying your favourite foods in moderation, is to ensure you’re responding to your natural hunger cues and eating balanced meals and snacks (with protein, fat and carbs) throughout the day.
Slowing down and taking a deep breath before diving in will also help the parasympathetic nervous system set the stage for eating. This sends blood to the digestive organs and gives the brain a chance to realize it’s full, lessening the chances of ending up with full-on belly bloat!
Load Up on Flat-Tummy Foods
Having the knowledge about what specific trigger foods cause bloating, and which specific foods help to cure the bloat can surely be useful during the holiday season.
Although everyone’s food sensitivities may be different, a group of offending foods known as the FODMAPS tend to cause a lot of problems for many. FODMAPS is an acronym to describe the types of carbohydrates (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) that cause gas and bloating because of their fermentability. Common foods in this category include include things like lactose from dairy and fructose from fruit. Other triggering foods to consider reducing or eliminating include: wheat, artificial sweeteners, and veggies including onions, garlic, brussel sprouts.
On the other hand, foods containing probiotics such as: kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, tempeh and kefir all contain naturally beneficial bacteria that help to adjust and restore a healthy balance in the gut – which is often thrown off during the holiday season because of too much sugar, alcohol or nutrient void foods. Supplementing with high quality bacterial strains, like those found in Progressive’s HCP Probiotic, can help reduce gas and bloating, and also normalize bowel movements.
Other strategies to help avoid bloating include taking digestive enzymes before large meals to assist the body with the breakdown of food (we love AllMax Digestive Enzymes and Lorna Vanderhaeghe DigestSmart), and following the food combining rules. Although the food combining rules can seem cumbersome at times, especially during holidays, they can play a huge role in helping to keep the bloat under control. The food pairing rules include: eating fruit alone (away from meals) and eating animal protein with veggies (away from starches).
Do a Bloat-Busting Workout
Truth be told, any exercise that gets the blood pumping throughout the body will benefit a bloated tummy. But, you’ll want to ensure that you aren’t making mistakes in your exercise habits that cause bloat in the first place! These mistakes include:
- Not breathing properly, or more likely, forgetting to breath during strenuous exercise can lead to stomach aches while also preventing the benefits associated with core strengthening and engagement. It’s generally accepted as best practice to exhale during the exertion phase and inhale during the relaxation phase.
- Not stretching after core exercises (such as crunches, sit ups and Russian twists) tightens the abdominal muscles and reduces circulation to the core area possibly leading to digestive issues. The fix is to ensure you stretch after your core-workout in order to loosen the abdominal muscles being used.
- Not hydrating properly is another potential cause for bloat, if it leads to dehydration. When the water draws out from the kidneys and liver without being replaced, stomach bloat and gas may be the result. The obvious fix here is to ensure you’re drinking enough fluids during your workout!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, some of the best moves to get your belly back to flat include:
- Cardio: A brisk walk, jog, cycle, or some time spent on the elliptical will help to encourage digestion and move the expulsion of gas. A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended.
- Full Body Exercises: Burpees, Knee Raises, Kettlebell Carries & Swings, Walking Lunges, and Planks will all help to focus on the core, while at the same time reaping maximum benefits by using the larger muscle groups as well.
- Targeted Yoga Exercises: Cat-cow, Supine Twist, Forward Fold, Child’s Pose and Extended Triangle pose are all gentle movements that’ll provide blood flow to the digestive tract and help to move along trapped gas.
Get Your Gut Back on Track
Because your gut is essentially the foundation of your health, focusing on getting it in shape is a great health resolution to start the year off with!
A gut-loving regime will not only reduce bloating, it’ll support how well you absorb your nutrients (which has obvious downstream effects on your energy, mood and appearance). And, by providing the gut with the right nutrients it’ll help to reduce inflammation which is highly tied to improved exercise recovery and enhanced performance.
Your Gut Health Game Plan:
- Begin by removing the inflammatory foods such as sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.
- Next, if you’re feeling digestive distress, replace the nutrients necessary for healthy digestion such as digestive enzymes (we love All Max Digestive Enzymes and Lorna Vanderhaeghe DigestSmart) and fibre (found in fruits, veggies and North Coast Naturals Daily Cleanse).
- Next, restore the integrity of the gut with healing nutrients such as L-glutamine (PVL Glutamine), Omega3 ( Progressive OmegEssential), Vitamin D (Beyond Yourself Vitamin D3), and the naturally occurring amino acids found in bone broth.
- Next, re-inoculate the gut with healing probiotics (found in foods mentioned above or in high quality supplements like Progressive’s HCP Probiotic).
- Lastly, for best bloat reducing and digestive health results, be sure to hydrate with plenty of water, get plenty of rest and learn to manage your stress levels!
At Reflex, supplements are our jam. Come visit us in store, or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to learn which supplements can help you to beat the bloat this holiday season – and beyond! We are #ReflexNation.