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Ask your Pharmacist: Reducing the effects of overindulgence this Christmas

Monday, 6th January, 2014 11:00am
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Ask your Pharmacist: Reducing the effects of overindulgence this Christmas
Ask your Pharmacist: Reducing the effects of overindulgence this Christmas

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie

We want to enjoy the festive season, yet all too often, indulgence leaves us feeling heavy and bloated. Poor digestion is what causes waste gases and sluggish bowels, which in turn lead to bloating – the stomach feels uncomfortable, full and tight including a visibly rounded or bloated stomach.

Tips to reduce that bloated feeling this Christmas

Preparing healthier Christmas dinner Use wholegrain breads for stuffing. Cook stuffing separate to the meat so it doesn’t soak up fats during cooking. Substitute light or low-fat spreads for butter when baking. Use yoghurt or buttermilk in baked goods, both low in fat and calories.Instead of high calorie cream sauces to go with meat and starters, try making vegetable puree ones like red pepper and onion. Try to avoid eating the skin of the turkey as the skin is high in fat. Roast potatoes have a higher fat content than normal potatoes. However, if you cut them into larger chunks or use larger potatoes when cooking they will absorb less fat.

ModerationUse a smaller plate, your mind will consider it a full plate regardless of its size. Where there are choices, take a little of many things rather than lots of one thing. This ensures you are getting a balanced meal and not overloading on a fatty food. For every glass of alcohol or soft drink, have a glass of water. Water fills you up and helps wash out the excesses. Only put out some of the available food so people don’t over serve themselves. More can always come out as required. Try to eat slowly throughout the day to avoid that uncomfortable full feeling. It takes your brain a few minutes to realise you are full. If you feel full, try to resist the temptation to stuff in another mouthful. Take a break instead.

Eat fresh food instead of processed food

Many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of salt and sugar. It is important to eat more fresh food, especially for children as the vitamins and minerals from fresh food will aid their development.

Processed foods that are less healthy include1. Canned foods. 2. White breads and pastas (whole grains versions are the healthier). 3. Packaged high-calorie snack foods such as crisps. 4. Chips. 5. High-fat convenience foods such as cans of ravioli. 6. Packaged cakes and biscuits. 7. Sugary breakfast cereals. 8. Microwaveable meals. 9. Frozen fish fingers. 10. Processed meats.

Processed meats are of particular concern. They are extremely high in fat and salt. Fresh meats, fish and hams from the butcher or meat counter in your supermarket is the healthier option. Short term over indulgence on processed foods will lead to bloating, indigestion and sluggishness. However long term use will lead to obesity and associated complications like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

More detailed information and leaflets are available in Whelehans.

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