Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while we love gathering with family and friends for fun feasts and lively dinners, the bloat, belly pain, indigestion and other GI miseries that big meals can trigger? Not so much! To tame stomach upsets fast.
Ten minutes in a rocking chair after a big meal can cut your risk of stomach woes by 68 percent by prompting the release of digestive enzymes.
Heartburn? Fight it with fiber
If you feel heartburn brewing after a meal, snacking on ⅓ cup of high-fiber cereal could cut your risk of a nasty flare-up by as much as 57 percent, suggests research in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. Fiber in cereal quickly soaks up excess stomach acid and fluids before they can build up in your stomach and reflux back up into the esophagus and cause pain.
Crampy? Picture your happy place
When abdominal cramping and pain kick in, taking 10 minutes to visualize a place that makes you feel truly relaxed — like a waterfall — could cut your symptoms by 70 percent, UCLA researchers say. Gastroenterologist Elsa Eriksson, M.D., explains that visualizing a soothing, peaceful scene triggers the release of brain chemicals that calm muscle spasms in the intestines.
Indigestion? Sip marshmallow tea
When a seasonal feast makes you queasy and uncomfortable, sipping 8 oz. of marshmallow tea can tamp down symptoms in 30 minutes, Canadian researchers say. Explains biologist Alexandra Deters, Ph.D., this herbal brew is rich in mucilage — a compound that coats and soothes the digestive tract, reducing irritation and improving digestion.
Bloated? Tidy up
A little gentle movement — whether you head outside for a relaxing stroll or just putter around tidying up the kitchen — can cut bloat and belly discomfort by 70 percent in 20 minutes. That’s the word from University of Washington researchers, who say moving your legs and hips stimulates the release of serotonin — a mood-boosting hormone that’s also essential for speedy stomach emptying and fluid absorption!
Already feeling the burn?
Before reaching for antacids, try sipping 8 oz. of water. British researchers say this simple trick dilutes digestive acid and flushes it back down into the stomach, ending heartburn flares in as little as one minute.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.