Six Tips for Beating the Christmas Gut Hangover

The aftermath of Christmas often leaves many feeling uncomfortable, gassy, and sluggish, with digestive issues ranging from bloating and heartburn to wind and constipation. 

To navigate these post-festive challenges without the convenience of open chemists, renowned experts—GP Dr. Tom Matthew, registered nutritionist Dr. Sarah Cooke, and physiotherapist Nell Mead—share invaluable advice on managing these gut hangovers from the comfort of your home.

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Expert Tips for Relief and Recovery

The aftermath of Christmas often leaves many feeling uncomfortable, gassy, and sluggish, with digestive issues ranging from bloating and heartburn to wind and constipation.

Push the bloat out.

Bloating, often synonymous with festive indulgence, stems from abnormal digestion or trapped gas. 

Dr. Cooke highlights lifestyle shifts impacting digestion, advocating for regular meals rich in fiber, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and hydration, while encouraging movement with winter walks. 

Foods like ginger aid digestion, with its zingibain enzyme reducing gas production. 

Additionally, Dr. Matthew recommends taking charcoal powder tablets and incorporating asparagus into meals to alleviate bloating and bladder discomfort.

Feel the burn.

Heartburn and acid reflux, affecting many during the festive season, prompt approximately 13,200 NHS page visits on Christmas and Boxing Day alone. 

Dr. Matthew suggests alkaline solutions like bananas or baking soda in water for immediate relief. 

Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, neutralizing acid. Physiotherapist Nell Mead recommends diaphragm stretches to ease esophageal pressure.

Gale Force

The notoriously wind-inducing foods like sprouts and cabbage warrant a temporary avoidance to curb excess wind. 

Dr. Cooke advises against rapid eating and encourages regular, spaced-out meals along with gentle exercise. 

Peppermint tea serves as a soothing aid, while Dr. Matthew recommends applying heat, gentle exercises, and yoga poses like Apanasana to alleviate trapped wind.

Good Stuffing

Overindulging often leads to discomfort, but lying down exacerbates the issue. Dr. Matthew suggests loosening clothing and adopting an upright position to relieve gastrointestinal pressure. 

Antispasmodics like peppermint and ginger, consumed as tablets or tea, ease cramping. 

Mebeverine and Buscopan, available over the counter, serve a similar purpose. Dr. Cooke advises recognizing fullness cues during meals and opting for hydration breaks to avoid discomfort.

All Bunged Up

Constipation, signaled by irregular bowel movements, warrants attention. Dr. Cooke advocates hydration, movement, and increased fiber intake through fruits and vegetables. 

Gradually introducing regular foods like beans, pulses, and porridge post-indulgence aids digestion.

Leftover Danger

Post-Christmas, leftover grazing is common, but vigilance is key. Reheating and proper refrigeration prevent food poisoning. 

Dr. Cooke emphasizes hydration for those affected with small sips of water or diluted apple juice. Seek medical help if severe symptoms persist beyond 48 hours.

In addition, ensure unwell individuals avoid handling food to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.

By following these expert tips, managing post-Christmas gut issues can be more manageable within the comfort of your home.

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