I love this time of the year. The lights, the decorations, the sounds of music…I love it all. And most importantly, I love the food. I am a sucker for turkey, peach cobbler, mashed potatoes, stuffing; it is all awesome.
However, for a lot of my patients, the holidays are not so merry for their gastrointestinal tract.
Happpy HOlidays GIF
Here are a few suggestions for some of the more common complaints around the holidays. Above all remember to talk to your physician before implementing any new recommendations.
Gas and Bloating
Some of the most common complaints around the holidays are problems with gas and bloating, which can be worsened by the types of foods eaten at this time of the year. Many of the sugary foods, like cakes, cookies, and cobblers, contain certain sugars and carbohydrates that are not easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, making people feel bloated and miserable.
Moderation is key in these situations. The holidays make us eat more than what we normally do and our stomach is not used to this. Being moderate in your intake of food will make gas and bloating better. To help with that, try drinking more water to fill-up your stomach. This will make you feel full quicker thereby minimizing the amount of food in your stomach.
Reflux, regurgitation, and heartburn affects millions of people daily, and tends to get worse around the holidays. Certain trigger foods, such as spicy foods, tomato based sauces, and carbonated drinks, can worsen reflux symptoms. Avoid “trigger” foods you know will make your heartburn worse. Also, do not forget to take your normal reflux medications to minimize heartburn symptoms. Adding an over-the-counter antacid may help out as well.
Changes in your diet from the normal routine wrecks havoc on your colon. Even slight alterations from what you are used to eating and doing can make you more constipated. This can worsen during the holidays as we travel to visit family members or go out to eat.
Foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates served during this season will worsen constipation, whereas foods high in fiber and vegetables will help move your bowels, so don’t skip the salads or vegetables. Hot drinks or even going for a short walk outside will help move things along and make it easier to go to use the restroom. Additionally, when eating and enjoying the holiday drinks and egg-nog, we forget to drink enough water to keep ourselves hydrated, thereby worsening bowel problems. Try skipping out on the soda drinks and have some water instead.
Reassuringly most of these symptoms will get better on their own with simple diet changes. However taking an over-the-counter fiber supplement might be the kick your colon needs to get better. If these remedies don’t work, consider consulting your physician.
So enjoy yourself during the holidays. But make sure to take care of your gastrointestinal tract as well.