Stomach bloating: Overindulging at Christmas left you bloated? How to relieve stomach pain
Christmas provides an excuse to indulge in copious amounts of food and drinks, and with dozens of tasty treats available it can be hard to resist tucking in.
But stuffing the body with turkey, cheese and crackers and Christmas pudding can cause havoc for the digestive system.
“Most of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated, when your tummy is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. It often happens after a big weekend or over a festive season,” said the NHS.
If you’re feeling bloated after a big Christmas, here’s what you can do relieve stomach pain and that uncomfortable, gassy feeling.
Cut down on bloat-inducing foods
Stuffing yourself with more food will only make bloating worse, especially if it’s stodgy or gassy.
Give your stomach a break by laying off processed, fatty foods which are harder to digest, as well as foods known to create excess gas.
Even some healthy foods can create excess gas, leading to bloating, such as the classic Christmas vegetable – Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts contain a carbohydrate called raffinose, which the body struggles to digest.
This is because the human body lacks the enzymes needed to break raffinose down, so it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested.
When Brussels sprouts enter the large intestine, bacteria attempt to break them down through fermentation, causing gas and flatulence.
Brussels sprouts are in the cruciferous family of vegetables, and other vegetables in this group can also cause bloating, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus.
You may therefore want to avoid these vegetables after a Christmas binge, but remember to still get your five-a-day by eating other vegetables and fruit.
Add more digestion-friendly foods to your diet
While a bloated stomach may put you off eating at all, some foods can actually help relieve symptoms by aiding the digestion process.
Fruits containing potassium, for example, can help combat bloating. Potassium-rich fruits include melon, bananas, oranges, kiwi, and papaya.
Potassium is a mineral that helps control the balance of fluids in the body, which can reduce water retention.
Water retention can contribute to a feeling of bloating in the tummy, as the body holds on to water in order to prevent dehydration.
Sometimes when eating food which is high in salt, for example, the body can hold on to excess water so as to avoid dehydration.
Potassium balances out the negative effects of salt, so the body doesn’t feel it is dehydrated, allowing it to flush out excess water.