Indulging on Turkey Day: Tips To Avoid Bloating & Discomfort

If you're like most people, you may have gas, constipation, or heartburn every now and then. However, on a special day like Thanksgiving, you’ll want to take extra care to prevent any digestive discomfort. So before you loosen your belt and reach for antacids to soothe your overstuffed tummy, keep these helpful tips in mind.

Eating to avoid gas, bloating and flatulence:

Uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms can be caused by swallowing too much air, eating foods that make a lot of gas, or having a reaction to a food that your system has trouble digesting. While it’s normal to pass gas 18 to 20 times a day, on Thanksgiving many will experience additional gas and bloating. Here are some helpful ways to minimize digestive discomfort:

Drink Water. Avoid carbonated beverages and drinking through a straw, both of which are likely to increase gas.

Eat Slowly. When you eat quickly, you are likely to swallow additional air, leading to gas. By eating slower not only do you enjoy food more, you also prevent gas.

Stay Away from Gassy Foods. When you eat large amounts of starchy and sugary foods, a large portion of carb-filled Thanksgiving foods, you are likely to have excess gas. Because these foods don’t digest quickly, they cause intestinal gas, which can leave you feeling bloated.

Eating to avoid heartburn:

Nearly everyone gets occasional heartburn. But for some, turkey day may just be another day of severe or persistent heartburn. As a symptom of acid reflux, heartburn is often caused when stomach contents, namely stomach acid, come back up into the esophagus. The chest pain and burning associated with heartburn can be prevented by following these tips:

Stop smoking and drink alcohol in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.

Don’t eat right before bed. Make sure you allow at least 3 hours between eating and when you go to bed.

Avoid heartburn causing foods. These include fatty foods and foods and beverages with caffeine, chocolate, and peppermint.

Raise your head. Make sure to lie on pillows so that your head and chest are elevated 6 to 8 inches. 

Eating to avoid constipation:

While constipation happens to nearly all of us, it can be especially common during the holiday season when foods are low in fiber. However, it's not usually considered a problem unless you're having bowel movements fewer than 3 times a week. Before reaching for a laxative, try incorporating these tips to stay “regular”:

Eat High-fiber foods. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to get at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber in your diet each day. If you’re feeling constipated, avoid eating these low-fiber foods in excess: cheese, eggs and meat.

Stay hydrated. Not getting enough fluids is another cause of constipation, but some fluids are better than others. Your best bet is to drink water. Caffeine, colas, and alcoholic beverages can actually dehydrate you and make constipation worse.

Take a walk. Getting exercise every day, like walking 30 to 45 minutes, will help keep your digestive system running efficiently. It will also improve your mood and support stress relief as well.  

Support Healthy Digestion All Year Long:

At some point, we’ve all experienced digestive health issues ranging from gas and bloating, to the stomach flu. The good news is most of these digestive issues can be prevented. The first step is to work with a registered dietitian who can help you to understand and cater to your unique health needs. With a customized diet, you are providing your body with nutrients it needs most, leaving you feeling and looking better than ever. 

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