How to stop feeling bloated at Christmas

This is one of my favourite health principles! It’s a Japanese saying that literally translates to ‘eat until you are 80% full’. Overeating may put added stress on your digestive system which could lead to symptoms such as bloating, so try to focus on enjoying the moment and the food, by eating only when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied. This allows your digestive system to work efficiently, so you’re less likely to feel uncomfortable. It’s also one of the theories behind the Blue Zones diet.

Check out our Christmas portion planner to help you to manage your servings.

2. Eat your greens

A side of broccoli with garlic and bread crumbs

Green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are loaded with fibre – a food of choice for supporting a healthy gut. At Christmas the focus tends to be on big roasts and plenty of sweet treats, and fruit and veg are often sidelined. Changes to your regular eating habits can lead to constipation and bloating. Eating plenty of fibre – especially in the form of green veggies – will help with both.

Why not build a high-fibre breakfast into your day?

3. Go easy on the alcohol

Someone refusing an alcoholic drink with the palm of their hand

You’ve likely already noticed the effect that drinking too much can have on your gut. Consuming too much alcohol can impact the composition and diversity of the bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive issues. It can also affect the muscles of the intestines, slowing the transit time of food through the gut, leading to feeling overly full. Reducing alcohol intake can therefore relieve bloating.

Interestingly, the type of alcohol you consume may affect gut health differently. Studies suggest that moderate consumption of red wine had a beneficial effect on gut bacteria (likely due to polyphenol content), whereas other alcohols such as gin decreased levels of beneficial bacteria.

Why not try some low or alcohol-free drink options?

4. Don’t forget to move

Shot of a young woman wearing headphones and using a laptop while exercising at home

With all the eating, Christmas telly and playing with presents, exercise is rarely top of the agenda. Engaging in physical activity, whether that be walking, cycling, doing a home workout or even cleaning the house, has several health benefits ranging from weight loss to stress relief. Studies have associated higher levels of fitness with increased microbial diversity in the gut, with fit individuals showing a greater abundance of butyrate, a gut-healthy, short-chain fatty acid. What’s more, if you’re constipated, exercise can help get things moving in other ways too…

Get inspired by our easy home workout ideas.

5. Take time to relax

A woman relaxes in a candle-lined bath tub with a glass of red wine.

If you’re hosting, all the planning and preparing can take its toll. Excessive levels of stress have been shown to reduce the diversity of gut flora, as well as impact beneficial bacterial species such as Lactobacilli. Make a habit of taking some time for you each day and utilise relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness.

Try some of our home mindfulness techniques.

6. Add some microbiome boosters to your diet

Healthy levels of good gut bacteria can really help to keep your digestion working as it should and it can also help relieve a bloated stomach. Find out more about probiotics and how they can help, then check out our list of top probiotic foods to support your gut health.

Want to know more about gut health?

Why am I bloated?
How to eat to avoid feeling bloated
How does diet affect gut health?
How to avoid indigestion
What to eat for… better digestion

How do you support your gut health? Comment below and let us know…


All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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