(Cleveland Clinic)- For those whose Fat Tuesday plans involve eating every paczki in sight, it’s wise to prepare for the aftermath that overindulgence can bring.
According to Cleveland Clinic’s Scott Gabbard, M.D., there are some do’s – and some don’ts – we should consider avoiding having our Fat Tuesday end in digestive misery.
“After over-indulging on these big party nights, the one thing you don’t want to do is lie down immediately after eating,” he said. “You want to give yourself three or four hours. That’s how long the stomach takes to start digesting the food and moving it into the intestines.”
If you have to lie down after eating a large meal, Dr. Gabbard advises laying on your left side and elevating your head by about six inches. This practice has been shown to reduce reflux by up to 80 percent. When it comes to food-filled festivities, Dr. Gabbard said the two most common complaints are heartburn and the feeling of bloating, or fullness.
“Heartburn is related to a process we call gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD,” he said. “This happens when stomach contents, which contain a lot of acid, come back up into the esophagus and cause problems.”
For people who frequently experience heartburn, he recommends using over-the-counter medications that either neutralize stomach acid or prevent its formation.
“The, ‘I ate too much,’ feeling – the bloating and fullness – is called dyspepsia, “said Dr. Gabbard. “What happens, if you eat too much, is the very top of the stomach, the fundus, may not function properly, causing that fullness, bloating, and nausea sensation.”
He said remedies, such as peppermint oil, or caraway oil have been shown to help reduce feelings of fullness or bloating. But, skip the apple cider vinegar. Dr. Gabbard says there is no research to show it can help heartburn.
In fact, he said it’s best to avoid anything that is acidic if you’re trying to keep stomach acids under control. Something you can try, however, is getting up and moving around.
“Going for a walk may help to stimulate things to move through,” said Dr. Gabbard. “Taking a walk for 20 minuteS or a half-hour may help. However, vigorous exercise may exacerbate reflux, as too much pressure can force stomach contents up – so keep it moderate – but a moderate walk is certainly good.”
Dr. Gabbard said drinking some water may help improve digestion but don’t drink too much if you’re already feeling overly-full.
It’s also best to avoid drinking anything carbonated, which can just make you feel more bloated.
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