How to enjoy the festive feasts of the end of the year without feeling heavy at the end of the meal? Nausea, migraines, abdominal pain… can indeed follow a too-large meal to which the body is not used.
“The contrast is great between a usual meal, now limited to one or two courses, and a festive meal, remarks Dr. Hervé Robert, doctor-nutritionist. The latter can count up to five or six dishes: between oysters, foie gras, turkey, cheeses, the log, and the box of chocolates. ”
Why do we have a harder time digesting after a festive meal?
The stomach, faced with the massive arrival of food, ensures more difficult to pre-digestion. Food will stay there longer, inducing a feeling of heaviness which may be accompanied by acid reflux. A gastric “emptying” is all the more laborious as the food is rich in fat.
The essential role of the gallbladder
When the food finally leaves the stomach, it is the gall bladder that will slow down the progression of the food bolus: it will have to release, not without difficulty, enough bile to digest fat. At stake: intestinal spasms, nausea, headaches …
“The combination of fat, sugars, and alcohol reinforces this phenomenon, specifies Dr. Odile Labrousse, general practitioner and nutritionist, alcohol abuse alone can induce poor digestion.”
How to improve digestion after a festive meal?
“Digestion begins in the mouth,” recalls Brigitte Coudray, a dietician with the Center for Nutritional Research and Information (Cerin). Good chewing facilitates the work of the stomach. Then, to limit gastric filling, you have to eat everything, but in small portions, being careful not to drink too much while eating. “Do not forget to either take breaks between dishes.
On the plate, we will reduce the” saturated fat intake (fatty meats – mutton, lamb, pork -, fried foods, industrial pastries, cold meats, sauces, etc.) to favor foods that are sources of “good” nutrients and “good” fats (oysters, goose, poultry, foie gras, etc.).
Another tip: distribute the food balance over the whole meal, for example by preparing lean meat if the entry is high in calories. And so as not to further slow digestion, “refrain from lying down for a few hours after a meal, advises the dietician. Or lie down ensuring that the upper body remains vertical. ”
Better digest thanks to certain herbal teas
Certain plants, by promoting the functions of elimination, allow better recovery of the excess table.
- Make an herbal tea with dandelion roots and lemon balm leaves: the former activates the work of the liver and stimulates the secretion and evacuation of bile; the second calms intestinal and digestive spasms. We can replace the dandelion with boldo leaves, and lemon balm by leaves of marjoram. Prepare a liter of herbal tea that you will drink at will all day long following the festive excess. You can also consume it the day before to prepare the body.
- Green anise and star anise (or star anise) absorb the gases resulting from intestinal fermentation and prevent bloating, aerophagia and flatulence, following a large meal. Consume one or the other in herbal tea, one hour after the end of the meal in question.
What precautions in the event of chronic diseases?
- Diabetics, who must ensure the balance of their blood sugar, should avoid or moderate (depending on the type of diabetes and on medical advice) their consumption of alcohol, sugars, and saturated fat. A diabetic treated with insulin will be able to compensate for a punctual excess of the table by adapting his treatment with his doctor.
- Hypertensive, heart failure, kidney failure, or people on cortisone treatment, depending on their pathology, should refrain or moderate their consumption of salty foods: sparkling water, appetizers, oysters, cold meats, cheeses, industrial pastries …
- People prone to food allergies will of course refrain from allergenic foods. They are advised to have at home an “emergency kit” prescribed by the doctor containing injectable adrenaline and drugs (corticosteroid, antihistamine, and bronchodilator).
Manage post-holiday meals well
“Hunger is rarely present the day after a party, says Brigitte Coudray. So we do not force ourselves to finish the leftovers from the day before, we listen to the needs of our body, and we are content with a light meal, for example, a slice of ham and a salad followed by yogurt. to drink a lot of water, especially if you have abused alcohol. ”
No need to force yourself to jog if you feel tired. “You have to rest first,” recommends Dr. Kathy Bonan, “sleep well and wait until you feel better before getting back to the sport. If you feel heavy, you can plan, during the week, three mini-meals with your choice: 300 grams of Fromage blanc (0 or 20%) and red fruits; lean meat or fish with vegetables or salad; a soup and a dairy. ”
No worries, the occasional dietary deviations in a healthy person will not affect their health or their figure. Provided that you reframe your menus as needed for a week or so, favoring vegetables, fish, and lean meats. But it is generally enough to listen to yourself to spontaneously regulate your diet.
Meal too watered, beware of quick and stubborn effects
“Alcohol passes quickly into the blood, underlines Brigitte Coudray, especially when one is on an empty stomach, such as at the time of the aperitif.” In contrast, it takes time to remove alcohol from the body: on average 0.10 to 0.15 g per liter of blood and per hour, knowing that a glass of wine raises the blood alcohol level to 0.25 g per liter of blood (to be adjusted according to sex, build, age). In addition, alcohol can, in some people, generate migraines.
What advice to limit the harm of alcohol?
- At aperitif time, to avoid rapid drunkenness and impaired brain functions, it is better do not ignore the appetizers.
- Throughout the meal, ensure to drink a lot of water. “The overconsumption of alcohol during a meal is often linked to thirst … which is readily quenched with wines!”, Explains Dr. Odile Labrousse.
- Also watch out for alcoholic mixtures, which are not always well-tolerated digestively. “Alcohol does not promote digestion and does not dissolve fat, warns Dr. Hervé Robert. The Norman hole, as such, is fanciful! “
Namely: sugar and carbonated drinks accelerate alcoholic impregnation.