‘Tis the season of comfort food. Around this time of year, it’s hard to bypass the temptation of ingesting one’s body weight in poutine. But with overindulgence comes digestive problems including heartburn, gas, and pain.
If you’re not ready to give up on high-fat foods quite yet, here’s how to prevent a bout of hibernation-induced indigestion:
1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Avoiding overindulgence doesn’t mean avoiding indulgence altogether. (We’re only human.) Instead, break your feasts up into smaller portions to take the pressure off your digestive tract. If you’re eating out, divide your meal and take half of it home in a doggie bag for later.
2. Slow down
Unless you’re in a hot dog eating competition, there’s no need for high speed scarfing. This will only lead to more gas and your brain won’t have a chance to cue in to the fact that you’re already full.
3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Ignore what some blogs tell you—according the Mayo Clinic, water does not dilute digestive juices. Instead, drinking water during or after meals aids digestion and prevents constipation.
4. Avoid sugary, fried, and spicy foods (so, basically all the good stuff)
According to Harvard Medical School, if you want to avoid diarrhoea, you’ll want to avoid all these foods.
5. Don’t recline post-meal
Laying down after a big meal can make digestion difficult and increase the likelihood of acid reflux. Instead, an hour after your meal, go out for a leisurely evening constitutional around the block.
6. On that note, don’t eat late at night
Since digestion takes several hours, be sure to eat at least two to three hours before you go to bed.
7. Get more exercise
If going to the gym isn’t your thing and the weather outside is frightful, aim for more incidental exercise. Take the stairs, tidy up your house during commercial breaks, or dance while you’re doing the dishes.
8. Choose higher fibre meals
Good thing that it’s chilli season! Beans and legumes are both high in fibre, ensuring that you remain regular.
9. Eat probiotic foods
These live bacteria and yeasts, which are typically found in yogurts, fermented foods, and supplements, can help create a healthy gut environment.
10. Skip the beer
It may be hockey season and there’s no denying that wings night isn’t quite the same without a lager. However, the combo of fried foods and carbonation is a stomachache waiting to happen. If you are going to drink alcohol, street clear of bubbly beverages or sugary drinks high in fructose, and choose a dry white wine instead. Or, if you’ve already over-indulged, a hot toddy made with mint tea and brandy might just be what the doctor ordered.