Christmas is great, but with all the festive cheer, crappy gifts from Christmas crackers, and cute family bonding comes another familiar, less welcome, feeling: a bloated belly. Here are the foods you should avoid at Christmas lunch to make sure any discomfort you feel comes only from having to make small talk with your weird uncle:
Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veg (like broccoli, cabbage and kale) have a certain complex sugar in them that makes you gassy almost instantly. But these green vegetables are good for you so don’t take them off your plate completely; just keep your portions small.
It might not feel quite like Christmas without a slice or three of milk tart, or custard-drenched malva pudding, but dairy can be super bloating for many people. If you’ve noticed that you’re lactose sensitive then try vegan alternatives. Or if sacrificing trifle just isn’t an option for you then pop a lactase tablet an hour or so before to ease the bloating.
While an ice cold Coke might seem like a crazy drink to pair with Christmas lunch in colder countries, in South Africa it’s the perfect non-alcoholic accompaniment to a braai-ed turkey. Fizzy drinks are fizzy because they contain carbon dioxide though, which gets trapped in your gut, causing gas and bloating. Pour yourself some flat, like good old-fashioned water, instead.
Corn contains a kind of carbohydrate that your body struggles to digest. Steer clear of the pile of buttery and delicious meilies to avoid that ballooning feeling.
If you’re doing a vegetarian version of Christmas lunch then chances are protein-high legumes, like beans, legumes and peas, make an appearance somewhere on the menu. These are notoriously bloat-inducing. If you regularly eat legumes, however, your body won’t
fart freak out as badly with time, so start legume-loading in preparation ASAP.
Christmas is a special day to sleep in, take it slow, spend precious time with loved ones, and get lit AF with your family. But alcohol slows your stomach’s digestive strength down, making you feel sluggish and bloated for longer. Plus it makes you go to the toilet twice as much, leaving you dehydrated. When your body is dehydrated it retains more water, leaving your belly feeling swollen and ugh. Try doing a sip-for-sip exercise: for every sip of booze you have a sip of water.
God, how delicious is air?! JK, but when you eat things too fast you do end up swallowing more air than usual. There is a certain amount of air your insides can handle (if you consider letting it out as noisy and embarrassing bodily functions ‘handling it’ anyway) but when you scoff food down in a rush it leads to a bloated stomach. You’re not alone if you wolf down your Christmas lunch as quickly as possible; it’s an evolutionary trait you learned from growing up with greedy siblings and cousins. Slow down, chew your food properly, and be just prepared to shove your brother to the side in the name of getting seconds.
Another cause of bloating is constipation, which can easily happen over the stressful and junk-food-filled festive season. Be sure to drink your 8 glasses of water and get enough fibre in from fruit and vegetables to keep things moving along as they should.
Read more food and drink.
Read more body health.