Watch the caffeine and carbonation
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Perking up with lots of coffee or soda might seem like a good way to sail through the season in an alert mode, but both coffee and carbonated drinks can do a number on your gut, says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, at Guiding Stars. “Caffeine can cause lots of symptoms including diarrhea (especially on an empty stomach) and indigestion. Similarly, carbonated drinks, even seltzer, can increase the chance of heartburn (also called gastroesophageal reflux) and gas or bloating. “Staying hydrated is important, but opt for water maybe with a splash of citrus and stick with your usual caffeine intake and avoid coffee after mid-afternoon,” Broihier continues. “Save fizzy drinks for earlier in the day or early evening instead of just before bedtime to minimize GI effects.” Don’t miss these proven ways doctors deal with belly bloating.
Shopping, decorating, cooking, entertaining, and work issues during this busy season can easily lead to an overload of stress. “Research shows that stress is directly linked to a number of GI problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn, among others,” shares Broihier. While a post-work glass of wine may sound tempting, Broihier advises you skip it as alcohol can irritate your GI tract and cause heartburn, not to mention overly imbibing does nothing for your productivity. And, it goes without saying that noshing on chips and cookies to ease your stress doesn’t help in the long run either. Instead, she says, try getting regular exercise even if just 20 minutes of brisk walking, which will boost your mood and decrease tension. Other ideas to help you relax: listening to soothing music, a 10-minute meditation break, a warm bath, or a massage.
Save rich foods for special occasion meals only
It’s one thing to have a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, it’s something else entirely to give in to temptation the entire month of December. “Make an effort to eat healthy foods throughout the season and save the heavy stuff (nuts, fatty meats, cheese) for very special meals only, ” she adds. “If you’re prone to heartburn, steer clear of peppermint-flavored candies, desserts, and drinks, which can also be a trigger for reflux.” Try these natural remedies for heartburn relief.