The season of celebration is the favourite time of year for many, but it can often become the season of overindulgence too. Is a Christmas day lunch really a Christmas day lunch, without the “after lunch nap” and general feeling of sluggish bloated-ness? It may not need to be anymore, if you follow these tips to fight the post-Christmas meal food coma.
What causes a “food coma”?
There are a few possible causes of your epic, post-lunch crash:
After a meal, blood flow shifts from your brain, to your stomach muscles and intestines which can lead to the feeling of tiredness. If you’ve had a meal that is rich in simple carbohydrates (like your favourite sugary desserts), amino acid “tryptophan” is created in your body, which can cause your brain to produce extra serotonin, the brain-chemical responsible for making you feel relaxed and sleepy.
The Circadian rhythm (or “body clock”) is also partly responsible, as it will deliver a natural energy dip around the middle of the day, which the heavy lunch can exacerbate.
How can we prevent it?
Hydration – We all know we should drink more water and this is another reason why. By drinking water and non-caffeinated tea, you can assist the food to move more quickly through your GI tract. Tea, such as peppermint and chamomile can also assist, by helping to flush your system of high sodium levels and dilute excess stomach acid, helping to reduce your bloated-ness
Aerobic exercise – A brisk walk for 30 to 45 minutes will aid your digestion and help battle the bloat.
Probiotics – This may not help immediately, but with severe bloating, consuming probiotics, such as a serve of yogurt, can help relieve bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
Avoiding Alcohol – Given it’s sedative effects, if you’re serious about avoiding the food coma this Christmas, you may want to avoid, or lower your alcohol intake on Christmas day, as it will dehydrate you and likely induce drowsiness.
While we can’t guarantee that the above tips will help you avoid all post-lunch discomfort around the family this Christmas, we hope it helps! Remember what is truly important this Christmas while you’re surrounded by family and friends, and have a very merry and memorable Christmas this year!