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The secret ingredient to avoiding the Christmas bloat

There’s a lot to love about Christmas – time with the family, drinks with friends and all the delicious food in between. The key is balancing this to avoid over indulging and the dreaded Christmas bloat, while still enjoying the festive season. This Christmas, Australian Eggs have teamed up with celebrity chef Manu Feildel and leading Dietitian, Sharon Natoli to deliver the secret ingredient to the perfect Christmas.

According to scientific studies, there are several factors that cause bloating* and which in turn could be contributing to ‘The Christmas bloat’.  These include excessive gas, increased water in the small intestine and constipation.  Throughout the silly season, we tend to increase alcohol consumption, eat foods that are higher in sugar and fat content, while also engaging in frequent sedentary behaviour. These choices ultimately slow gut digestion and can cause uncomfortable bloating.

Leading dietitian and author Sharon Natoli from Food & Nutrition Australia said, “It is hard to say no when you are surrounded by so many delicious options, but the key is to make conscious, smart choices to survive the silly season in full health. The biggest factor in avoiding weight gain and bloating over Christmas is to enjoy foods like Christmas puddings, cakes, fried finger foods and creamy dips in small portions. Strike a balance by including high protein options that leave you feeling fuller for longer – such as fish, nuts, yoghurt and eggs. Eggs are a very versatile ingredient so there are plenty of Christmas recipes that utilise the highly nutritious staple. Try and add eggs to colourful Christmas salads, include peeled and quartered eggs as a finger food, or opt for eggs at breakfast to keep you going until lunch.”

We are more prone to bloating around Christmas and throughout the holiday period, because of the amount we eat and the food choices we make. Research finds that the most effective way to reduce bloating is to avoid excessive intakes of certain foods, rather than eating specific foods to minimise the effects. So make a conscious effort to keep including fibre rich foods, like veggies, fruit and wholegrains, and complementing these with foods high in protein like eggs, milk, yoghurt, fish, legumes and nuts. Eggs are a good option to incorporate into your diet every day, containing over 11 different vitamins and nutrients. A single serve of eggs will contribute to a high proportion of your recommended daily intake of protein, therefore helping to keep you feeling full.

Australian Eggs ambassador and celebrity chef Manu Feildel believes that clever choices over Christmas means you don’t need to sacrifice all the good stuff but will mean you come out the other side ready to head into the New year.

A lover of fine foods and festive fun, Manu said, “The holiday season is such a great time of year. Family, friends, food and weather it doesn’t get any better than that does it! Of course, its traditionally the season of overindulgence but there are also some delicious recipe options and alternatives that feel equally festive and taste just as good while leaving you feeling a little lighter on the stomach.”

“As a family, we love to entertain over the festive period, which means lots of barbeques. Colourful, fresh salads are a great addition to the traditional Christmas roasts and barbeque meats. For a dessert option you can’t beat a traditional Christmas pavlova loaded with seasonal berries, and maybe just a drizzle of dark chocolate, it is Christmas after all!”

Dietitian Sharon Natoli shares her tips to enjoy the holiday season, while avoiding the dreaded bloat:

  • Slow down – it’s not just what you eat but how you eat. Eat slowly with your mouth closed to avoid gulping down air with your food, and make sure you chew each mouthful thoroughly
  • Clever swaps – There are several swaps you can make to increase nutrition and reduce the risk of over-indulging. Bolster your Christmas lunch or dinner with fresh, colourful salads
  • Drink plenty of water. Approximately 2 litres per day for women, and 2.5 litres per day for men
  • If you have trouble reaching your water intake targets, try peppermint tea, green tea or herbal and fruit teas
  • Limit intake of sugary soft drinks and alcohol
  • Keep moving – avoid sitting for long periods of time and include physical activity in your agenda. Involve the family in a physical activity such as backyard cricket, a swim in the pool or a long walk outside
  • Relax – family get-togethers and the planning and preparations surrounding Christmas can sometimes be quite stressful. Prepare ahead of time, getting as much done before it gets busy – and opt for easy to make recipes. Stress is another important factor that can contribute to bloating and other gut symptoms so try and keep this in check.

About the author

Life Begins At Editor

Life Begins At Magazine is the ultimate lifestyle publication for those who are retired, semi-retired or approaching retirement. But most importantly, those who believe that life really does begin at 50! Life Begins At has loads of features from celebrity interviews, domestic and international travel, home improvements and gardening, health and well-being, as well as financial tips and advice. The magazine is designed to meet the needs of a whole new generation of informed, healthy and active retirees.

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