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Hard to stomach: Tips to digest those festive favourites

RW Rachel V Wall

The glorious traditions of Christmas. Exchanging gifts with family and friends, settling down to watch the Queen’s speech, a hearty meal and then – lying on the floor with your belt unbuckled, gasping for air while your sister furiously searches for the milk of magnesia.

But it doesn’t have to be like this and if you find yourself suffering after a festive feast there could be three very good reasons why. We asked nutritionist and Enzymedica UK consultant May Simpkin which foods we should keep an eye on this Christmas if we want to keep digestive discomfort at bay.

1Brussels Sprouts

This classic Christmas vegetable can cause bloating in even the most robust digestive systems. Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, (along with cabbage, kale and cauliflower) and these naturally contain high amounts of insoluble fibre. This type of fibre is not fully broken down but is used to help the food to travel more easily through the digestive system. If you’re not used to eating these high fibre vegetables, you may find that your digestive system struggles to break them down sufficiently and gases are released as they sit in the stomach for too long, causing bloating as a result.


Most stuffing is made with breadcrumbs and a lot of onions, which contain non-digestible sugars that can irritate the stomach and cause gas because they draw too much fluid into the stomach. If you’re sensitive to these types of sugars, you’ll find yourself bloated very easily from even a small amount of stuffing.

3Dried fruits

Mince pies and Christmas cake are typically packed with dried fruits, and whilst they provide a good source of nutrients and fibre, they actually contain a lot of sugar and sweeteners as well high levels of sulphites, which is used as a preservative. If your stomach is sensitive to preservatives, that means your seasonal snack could cause bloating. If you have a delicate stomach, it is worth avoiding the cake icing too, which is made entirely from sugar and also contains additives.

And then there’s overeating…

Sometimes bloating is not linked to any particular food and it can simply be a case of overeating, particularly if it’s a combination of eating larger portions, more often and foods that you wouldn’t normally eat. If you already suffer from digestive issues, you may find your system is not equipped to process so much food at once. 

The best solution is to be sensible with your portions and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. Taking the time to pause in between mouthfuls and chewing well will also help. However, if you know you will inevitably eat more than you’re used to, then you can offer your digestive system a little help to move your meal through and ease your bloating. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement before your meal will help to break down your meal more efficiently. As a digestive aid, I recommend Digest Spectrum. Many people know that they have a digestive issue, yet they don’t always know the foods that are causing the problem. Digest Spectrum contains 13 vegan enzymes that provide an additional boost of enzymes making it easier for you to digest your meal.

More info

The views expressed on these pages are the views of the cited experts only and do not necessarily represent the views of Wellness Edit. Please always get a second opinion where specific medical advice is required.

All Content © Copyright Wellness Edit 2020. All rights reserved


Hard to stomach: Tips to digest those festive favourites

RW Rachel V Wall

The Article Edit

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