Why You are More Likely to Experience Bloating During the Holidays & How to Beat It
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
The holidays are a time of year filled with time with loved ones, festivities, delicious foods, and often, unwanted bloating and digestive issues. Many just chop it up to indulging in surgery and inflammatory foods, but there can be a lot more to bloating than that.
With 2 in 3 Americans reporting they regularly experience symptoms of indigestion, we want to highlight the hidden causes behind bloating and how you can beat it for a happy, healthy holiday season:
Potential Causes Behind Your Bloat
Unknown Food Sensitivity
Unaddressed food sensitivities are a common cause of a variety of symptoms including hair loss, joint pain, brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, and of course, bloating.
Food sensitivities are not about unhealthy foods that may elicit a reaction in the gut, rather the term refers to “healthy” foods that induce inflammation and symptoms such as those listed above. Food sensitivities are unique to the individual. This means you may think you are eating well during the holidays and filling up with sources of protein and healthy fats such as eggs, nuts, and leafy greens, but if you are sensitive to any of these foods, you are likely to experience the symptoms listed above and feel similar to when your eat processed foods.
That is why our licensed medical providers recommend that anyone experiencing bloating receive Food Sensitivity Testing. The Next Health Food Sensitivity Test checks your reaction to 96 commonly reactive foods, providing insight into which foods might be contributing to inflammation and suboptimal health and well-being.
Moreover, equally important to identify the foods you should eliminate from your diet, is identifying the foods that you are not sensitive to. This provides more dietary freedom to enjoy foods that you might be unnecessarily avoiding.
It is important to note that just because you are currently sensitive to a food, does not mean you have to eliminate it from your diet forever. After working with our medical experts to improve your gut health, it is likely you will alleviate some sensitivities.
Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep is almost a given for some during the holidays with late night catch-up sessions with loved ones and holiday parties. However, it does not go without consequence.
When the body lacks sleep, the stress hormone cortisol is released. Because this is a fight or flight hormone, it triggers digestion to slow and directs the body’s energy to systems responsible for movement such as the muscles and heart, so we can get away from a stressor or threat.
Increased cortisol is also linked to an increased risk of intestinal permeability and leaky gut syndrome.
Although it is unclear all the ways in which sleep and gut health are connected, some experts also believe that a lack of sleep may be related to gastrointestinal issues such as GERD, a condition in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining. This is because melatonin, the sleep hormone, is mainly made during the night in order to help us fall asleep. However, melatonin also helps regulate gastrointestinal mobility. When melatonin levels are low, it can be difficult to sleep and in turn, compromise the mobility of the gut and lead to gut issues such as bloating, heartburn, and more.
With the CDC deeming insufficient sleep “a public health epidemic” in the United States and conservatively estimate 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep, consider the ways you can support your health and longevity through improved sleep hygiene.
92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits, according to the World Health Organization. If toxins are absorbed in the lungs, they can elicit an inflammatory immune response in an attempt to destroy the pathogen, which commonly results in bloating.
Air pollution is not the only contributor to toxin exposure as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that people have an average of 500 environmental chemicals in their bodies. These chemicals can come from beauty products, holiday candles and artificial scents, cleaning supplies, food packaging, and so much more.
If you are interested in measuring your exposure to toxins, consider our advanced Environmental Toxins At-Home Test Kit, which is a thorough panel of 39 of the most inflammatory environmental toxins.
As our founder and CEO, Dr. Darshan Shah says, “You can’t change what you can’t measure.”
Eating Too Quickly
Pace yourself when enjoying home-cooked meals this holiday season as eating too quickly during a meal can cause also disturb the digestive process. When eating quickly, we inhale excess air, which enters the gastrointestinal tract and causes bloating, gas, and impedes digestion.
It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that it’s full, so remember to eat slowly, enjoy your meal, and chew your food (each bite should be chewed around 32 times).
Tips for Beating Holiday Bloat
Swap Gum for Peppermint Capsules
When chewing gum we can unknowingly swallow excess air, which can cause bloating.
Festive peppermint capsules, tea, and oil all support digestive health and alleviate bloating as peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly, resolving post-meal bloat.
Physical activity can help the body process excess gas and stool that is contributing to bloating. It can also help release extra sodium (a cause of bloating) through sweating, which can relieve excess water retention.
A simple walk, yoga, or another physical activity can help relieve bloating and any digestive discomfort.
Hydrate & Stay Hydrated
75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated and many of us opt for alcoholic and caffeinated beverages during the holiday season occasional and inconsistent hydration can lead to bloating because our bodies are not used to processing large amounts of fluid.
However, when you keep your body hydrated and intake sufficient amounts of electrolytes, you are significantly less likely to suffer from bloating.
At a minimum, experts recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water every day.
Eat Antioxidant Foods
As mentioned above, a Food Sensitivity Test is really the best way to tailor your diet to your gut health, but it is also advised to eat foods high in antioxidants to reduce inflammation and bloating. Antioxidants help repair the cellular damage that results from oxidative stress (hence the name antioxidant). However, it is important to note that some foods high in antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables can also lead to bloating because they also contain high levels of fiber.
Below are some great dietary options that are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients yet don’t lead to bloating:
- Green tea
Supplement with Probiotics
Probiotics are live strains of bacteria that support the population of good bacteria in your gut. By promoting a healthy and balanced gut microbiome, you are less likely to suffer from bloating and other digestive issues.
Consider supplementing with a probiotic such as Pure Encapsulations GI Probiotic, a high-quality supplement made with hypoallergenic vegan ingredients designed to fuel the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Tip: Optimize the efficacy of your probiotic by taking them at night.
Gut Health IV
You can also target your gut health more directly through IV Therapy.
The Next Health Gut Health IV is scientifically formulated to reduce gut permeability and decrease common irritants such as bloating and inflammation with powerful ingredients such as glutamine and other potent amino acids. This IV can be done in a series until overall gut health is optimized.
Please note all IV Therapy Drips at Next Health include a multivitamin base, also known as the Myers’ Cocktail, plus a powerful blend of hydrating electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids, & more.
Next Health offers IV Therapy in a clean, comfortable, and vibrant atmosphere. Instead of the traditional IV experience in a cold and clinical environment, our modern and vibrant IV Lounge is equipped with lounge chairs, massage chairs, free Wi-Fi, charging stations, and complimentary beverages.
Our IVs are administered by one of our Registered Nurses here onsite.
Bye Bye Bloat
This package is ideal for those looking to take a comprehensive approach to their gut health in order to get to the root cause of their bloating and any digestive issues.
Our Gut Health Package is a detailed overview of over 125 markers that measures the health of your gut lining (detecting if you may have leaky gut syndrome), provides insight on which healthy foods may be causing inflammation, and reveals micronutrients you may be deficient in.
To book your appointment for our Gut Health Package or ask any questions you may have, request a complimentary consult here.
Call or text us at: (310) 295-2075