The Not So Merry Part of Holiday Feasts – Gas Pains: Here's What to Do
Eating happily with your loved ones during the holidays brings joy, love, peace, celebration, gratitude, and other positive feelings you all share together. But the gas pains you may feel after the meal aren't so pleasant. Don't worry – here's how to prevent and alleviate a bloating tummy.
If you somewhat regularly suffer from bloating or painful gas following a meal, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition. For example, lactose intolerance causes bloating and sometimes excruciating gas pains if you eat lactose-rich foods, like milk and cheese. Your body doesn't make enough of the enzymes responsible for breaking down lactose and it doesn't get absorbed through your intestines but becomes a feast for the bacteria in your colon instead. As the bacteria break down the lactose, they produce byproducts that cause painful gas and other unpleasant symptoms.
If you don't have bloating-prone conditions, like bacterial overgrowth or irritable bowel syndrome, you might still experience unpleasant bloating – especially when you eat with your family and friends during the holidays. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, ingesting air while feasting, like if you're busy laughing and chatting happily with your loved ones around the table, can cause bloating. The air that gets into your tummy builds up and can cause pain.
Rapid eating and drinking carbonated drinks may also lead to bloating – and why wouldn't you eat voraciously when your relatives have prepared the tastiest dinner of the whole year? If your New Year's feast has a lot of cabbage, baked beans, onions, broccoli, or bran, these foods can cause bloating too because they're particularly high in fiber, which isn't digestible and becomes food for the same bacteria in your colon responsible for producing gas when breaking down lactose.
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent and alleviate any bloating so you can enjoy a hearty feast with your family with less or no gassy consequences:
Keep your posture. Experts say that sitting straight with good posture while you're eating helps ensure gas doesn't get trapped in your gut to build up and cause bloating.
Drink chamomile tea. Researchers found that drinking chamomile tea dispels gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Simply prepare a kettle filled with warm chamomile tea after dinner and share it with your loved ones and you'll help prevent any after-dinner bloating.
Take probiotics before eating. Probiotics are good bacteria that reside in your small intestines. Researchers found that taking probiotics lowers gas and flatulence. They found that it lowers 44 percent of abdominal pain and bloating in IBS patients. Take a fast-acting probiotic about half an hour before your holiday dinner and you'll boost your levels of good bacteria that help your intestines absorb your incoming dinner so less of it ends up in your colon where it becomes fodder for the gas-producing bacteria.
You can enjoy feasting with your family without any unpleasant consequences – or at least lessen their gassy effects. Try these tips for your New Year's Eve feast!