You know it's Thanksgiving when your gut is bloated, the top button of your pants is undone, and a terrible heartburn sends you to bed. Overeating might be causing some of these digestive pains, but there are several other measures you can take to avoid a post-Thanksgiving belly as well as help your body break down the fatty meal.
- Before the Thanksgiving dinner: Wait to eat until you are sitting down. It may be tempting to pick at the buffet of offerings in the kitchen before you take your place at the table, but it's harder to control portions if you're standing up and snagging bites here and there. By waiting, you actually prime your body for digestion. The smells and sights of the delicious buffet trigger the production of extra saliva and digestive acids to help break down food. If you don't give your body enough time to produce these natural digestive aids, you will feel some discomfort and bloating later, as your body works harder to break down the food.
Read on for more tips.
- During the Thanksgiving meal: Stop shoveling your food, and start chewing thoroughly. Because we are used to eating simple sugars and starches that break down quickly, our jaw muscles are used to slacking off. However, you should be chewing your food until it is fully broken down and the textures are indistinguishable. You'll prevent bloating, gas, and cramping, and increase the absorption of the nutrients in the food. As for drinking water while you eat, go ahead! Drinking water aids digestion and the breakdown of foods in the stomach.
- Post-Thanksgiving dinner: Avoid lying down until three hours after the meal to avoid acid reflux. It takes up to 12 hours to fully digest your Thanksgiving meal, due to the inordinate amount of fat. Help your body cut fat accumulation and cholesterol levels by drinking green tea during or after your meal. Controlled studies have shown that green tea contains certain polyphenols, or plant-based antioxidants, that help break down fat, thus helping to lower cholesterol level and BMI.