With the Chinese New Year weekend just past, most people might be still recovering from the effects of the heavy feasting of one too many pieces of bak kwa and pineapple tart. The heavy-headedness and gastric pain are all too familiar – sometimes accompanied by heartburn and diarrhoea or constipation, over-indulging in rich foods during the holidays often has its consequences.
In fact, you might be gearing up for another round of gatherings and reunion meals this weekend, in true observation of CNY’s 15 days of festivity. To minimise your chances of suffering from a tummyache post-CNY meal, here are some tips you can follow:
Eat slowly: Over-eating is the key culprit when it comes to the cause of post-feasting tummy ailments. So, ignore the kiasu part of your brain that tells you to gobble up your favourite foods before they run out. Instead, take your time to eat. This gives your body time to register when it feels full, so that you can stop eating before you go over your limit.
Remember the fibre: Sumptuous as your CNY goodies and reunion meal look, it is likely sorely lacking in fibre, making it a perfect recipe for constipation. So, listen to your elders and eat your greens this CNY. The mandarin oranges you use to greet the relatives are also a convenient and rich source of dietary fibre, as are most fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Get moving: Walking about can help with digestion and reduce your chances of suffering from gastric reflux. You can offer to help with serving food or clearing away the dishes, or get your family to go for a walk together after the meal. Clocking in some exercise daily will also help your body feel less sluggish overall.
Drink a soothing tea after: After a huge meal, bloating is a common issue. Battle it by drinking a hot cup of chamomile, ginger, or peppermint tea. These teas have soothing properties that help to reduce bloating, indigestion, and gas. If these don’t sound like your cup of tea, you could also try capsule supplements that contain these herbs.
What to do if you already have an upset stomach
If you are already experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of over-eating, you can find some relief by getting your diet and exercise back on track. Here are some things you can try:
- Consume more fibre: Dietary fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and beans are beneficial to overall digestive health and promotes healthy bowel movement.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids will help whether you are experiencing constipation or diarrhoea.
- Take an antacid: Over-the-counter medications like Gaviscon can provide quick relief for indigestion and heartburn.
In most cases, you won’t have to worry as these digestive issues typically resolve themselves within a day or two. It is only when symptoms persist for more than a few days that it becomes a cause for concern. For example, if you experience chronic heartburn that doesn’t go away even after medication, your doctor may need to perform an endoscopy to check for other causes.
With these tips, hopefully, you won’t have to suffer yet again after another reunion meal!