It’s easy to indulge for a couple of days during this time of year and push digestive issues to the back of our minds.
Though all the seasonal treats and foods are amazing as you eat them, you might anxiously be waiting for the slew of digestive issues to come as time passes.
To avoid uncomfortable digestive problems this holiday season, we break down some reasons you might be having digestive troubles and what you can do to lessen their impact on your holidays.
Top Foods On The Naughty List
Knowing what foods tend to cause digestive discomfort can make a huge difference in what you may or may not consume at holiday outings. While we are all different, and some foods can cause pain for some but not others, they are usually on the naughty list when it comes to digestion.
Dairy is a well-known digestive irritant for many as it’s difficult to break down and process even if you don’t typically suffer from digestive issues. Be sure to opt for dairy-free options when filling your plate to avoid discomfort later. Luckily, there are tons of plant-based dairy-free and lactose-free options to choose from to substitute for regular dairy products such as almond milk, soy cheeses, oat-based creamers, and much more, so if you are making dinner, opt for dairy-free items. Trust us, your guests won’t notice in taste but will see they aren’t getting uncomfortable after eating their favorite dishes and treats.
Filling Fats and Sugar Shock
Sadly, most traditional holiday foods tend to be high in fat and/or sugar. These foods are generally challenging for your body to digest and can cause a slew of digestive issues. We know avoiding these foods at all costs is a lot to ask, so if you would like to enjoy some foods or treats with high fat or sugar, try to take smaller portions and balance your meal with some healthier fiber-rich choices.
Speaking of fiber, we know this category seems counterintuitive, as fiber generally helps with digestion; however, eating foods that are too high in fiber or intaking too much fiber at once can cause you more harm than good.
Sprouts, lentils, avocado, brussels sprouts and broccoli, are all high fiber foods that can happily be enjoyed in normal portions. Although going for seconds on the broccoli might seem like a good, healthy choice, you might be subjecting yourself to an evening of gas, stomach cramps, and general digestive discomfort.
Who doesn’t love a good seasonal mixed drink or a nice glass of champagne during the holidays? As much as the holidays are about celebrating, excess alcohol consumption can burden your digestive system. Alcohol is known to irritate the stomach lining, and certain types of alcohol can cause heartburn.
We aren’t saying to give up alcohol altogether this holiday season, but rather to be mindful of how much alcohol you consume. We also encourage you to avoid drinks that have high sugar content and, of course, to be responsible when drinking.
With so many holiday activities keeping you busy, you might find yourself reaching for an extra cup of coffee or two during the day. However, the excess caffeine can wreak havoc on your digestive system. It’s also important to note that caffeine is a diuretic, and when consumed in large quantities, it can cause diarrhea. Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker per se, caffeine can be hidden in your favorite holiday treats like chocolates, desserts, ice cream, and much more.
You can always prepare a dish you know you can eat without fear if you need options.Top Tips To Help You Enjoy Every Holiday Meal
Eat slowly: Digestion starts in your mouth. The more you chew your food, the easier it will be for your body to further break it down in each step of the digestive process. By slowing down when you are eating, you can give your body more time to digest the small quantities over a long period rather than pushing your body to digest a large amount all at once.
Make compromises if you must: The holidays are about indulging but be mindful of how much. If you LOVE eggnog but know you have a hard time with dairy and eggs, try skipping out on other dairy products and only enjoying what you can’t do without. Alternatively, you could have a smaller helping of both eggnog and dairy-containing foods. The moral of the story is don’t overdo it.
Find balance: Don’t put yourself through agony due to digestive issues day in and day out. If you have multiple events over the weekend, try your best to stick to your regular diet, which doesn’t cause you discomfort during the week, to balance out the damage that could be done during the weekend.
Get moving: Exercising is a great way to kick start the digestive process and avoid heartburn and acid reflux. After indulging, go for a walk, help clean up, or if you were hosting, get a head start on cleaning your home.
Manage your stress: The most wonderful time of the year also happens to be the most stressful time of year. End-of-year deadlines, preparations for family members visiting, shopping in crowded stores, holiday feasts to prepare, and the list goes on and on. As we know, stress is a huge contributor to digestive troubles. Additionally, people tend to overeat or have a couple of extra drinks to cope with the holidays’ added stress. Stressors, drinks, and food can show themselves in the form of digestive discomfort. Try mitigating your stress with meditation, self-care, yoga, and various other tactics.
Be prepared: Be smart and prepare for the worst. Please don’t be too tough on yourself during the holiday season; it happens once a year and shouldn’t be a reason to feel ultra-restrictive. If you need options, you can always prepare a dish you know you can eat without fear. Lastly, we recommend bringing digestive enzymes or medication with you to all your events, just in case.
Know When To Ask For Help: We can all survive the occasional stomachache, an episode of diarrhea, or some holiday heartburn. However, if you have ongoing symptoms, it might be time to see a doctor and get some help.
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