Most of us must have overdone it at some point—overindulging in a favorite meal and then regretting it immediately afterwards. If you feel bloated and uncomfortable, don’t despair. Here are 6 tips for helping your digestive system:
- Relax. Don’t beat yourself up over one binge session. Stress can negatively affect digestion, and giving yourself a guilt trip may lead to more indigestion.
- Don’t take a nap. As tempting as it may be, don’t lie down or go to sleep. This can cause reflux and slow digestion. Stay upright until your food has had time to settle in your stomach.
- Take a walk. Walking can help stimulate your digestive system and help your blood sugar levels even out. Avoid strenuous exercise, however, since this can cause blood flow to your legs or arms instead of to your gut.
- Sip some water. Don’t gulp it down all at once, but take a few sips of water throughout the day. Drinking water can help your body flush out excess sodium and prevent constipation.
- Avoid carbonated drinks. Sodas and fizzy drinks can make you feel even more gassy and bloated.
- Take some probiotics. Yogurt or other probiotic sources can help aid digestion and may also provide relief from heartburn after a heavy meal.
What are the harmful effects of overeating?
If you have a tendency to overeat frequently, it’s important to be aware of the negative effects it can have on your body.
Short-term side effects of overeating
- Makes your stomach expand past its normal size, putting pressure on other organs and causing abdominal pain or bloating.
- Makes your digestive system work harder, which may disturb normal enzyme and hormonal levels.
- Causes the stomach to secrete more acids, which may travel up your esophagus and lead to heartburn.
- Produces excess gas in the gut which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
- Increases your metabolic rate, which can make you feel sweaty, hot, and giddy.
Long-term side effects of overeating
How can you avoid overeating?
Below are tips to avoid overeating:
- Plan your meals.
- Control your portion sizes.
- Include foods in your diet that keep you full for longer, such as vegetables, fruit, and lean meat.
- Eat slowly, since it can take about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full.
- Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly.
- Pay attention while you're eating and avoid watching TV or other distractions.
- Keep a record of your eating habits, both good and bad, in a diary or journal. Reflect on what went wrong and focus on how to correct it.
- Stay physically active.
- Stay hydrated, as drinking water can control hunger.
- Manage stress.
If you find yourself overeating often, you may have a condition called binge eating disorder, which can take a huge toll on your health. Talk to your doctor if you are worried.
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