Rich in fat, sugar, and salt, holiday foods often have too much of a good thing – and you might find yourself needing respite if you find you ate too much, yet again.
The good news is the holiday season does end and we can go back to forgetting all about gingerbread men hot cocoa soon enough. But until then, do you even know when you've eaten too much before the worst sets in?
Sometimes it's easy to tell before you leave the table, but symptoms may spring up hours later or the next morning. Upset stomach. Bloating. Gas. Pain. A lack of energy for doing anything besides lolling about. Most of all, you’ll feel terrible.
How to Feel Better When You Ate too Much
1. Give it time: Your digestive track was designed to handle gorging. After all, it’s not like our human ancestors ate three balanced meals a day. In time, you will be able to process the food and absorb all the nutrients without any lasting harm to your system. Unless you are prone to acid reflux, you might try to take a nap to make the time pass more quickly. Most food hangovers are history within 24 hours.
2. Liquids: Many holiday foods are high in sodium. It may seem counterintuitive, but drinking plenty of water can help you feel less bloated by flushing the excess salt from your system. You may also want to try sipping a caffeine-free herbal tea, but skip the alcohol and carbonated drinks. Feeling really nauseated? Ginger tea may help.
3. Move: Go for a walk. Moving after a heavy meal may prompt your digestive track to get moving as well. For many people, sitting or lying down directly after a meal can contribute to acid reflux, and walking may be a better much option than taking a nap.
4. Chew gum: Chewing on a piece of gum creates saliva, which stimulates your stomach acid and may help aid digestion. Choose sugar-free gum and avoid mint flavors, which may cause heartburn for some people.
5. Probiotics: Probiotics, whether consumed in supplement form or via foods like kefir and yogurt, can help balance out your digestive system and reduce diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. You may not feel the results immediately, but probiotics can be an important part of your overall digestive health regimen.
6. Antacids: While they’re no long-term solution, aluminum-based antacids (like Tums, Mylanta, or Maalox) may reduce the symptoms of heartburn for a while. Or give natural digestive enzymes a try--especially helpful before the meal if you can predict that far in advance.
7. Make the next meal healthy: You may not feel like eating anything for hours, but when you finally do, make sure that your meal contains a healthy and somewhat bland balance of protein and complex carbs. High-fiber vegetables like artichokes and broccoli will help your digestive system get back to normal by absorbing excess water. Avoid eating anything with too much fat, sugar, or salt.
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