Eat Empowered, Holidays, Wellness Advice from Experts

3 Healthy Things to Do After a Big Meal


Did you know there’s a scientific term for your post-Thanksgiving food coma? Yep, it’s called postprandial somnolence, and according to The National Sleep Foundation, carbohydrates make tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid found in turkey, more available to the brain. And you know what you eat a lot of on Thanksgiving? You guessed it!  Carbs … and turkey.

You might also be dealing with some bloating, a result of eating too much sodium, overeating, or eating too fast. Foods that take longer to digest such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (all the yummy cruciferous veggies!) can also cause unwanted bloat.

RELATED: How to Stop Bloating in 5 Easy Steps

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy Thanksgiving—quite the opposite. Dive into Thanksgiving with the gusto of Joey from Friends, and have an awesome day eating your favorite seasonal foods with your family. Then, use these tips to feel better in the aftermath, so you can return back to your (more energized) baseline ASAP.

Drink Water

Woman in mint green sweater drinking fresh water in a glass.

You might think that water retention means you have an excess of water in your body. But it’s usually the opposite. Your body holds onto the water it has when you start to get dehydrated. So make sure you drink about eight glasses a day, especially after a big meal. Bonus: It can also help relieve the post-Thanksgiving headache from too much wine (and politics).

Move Your Body

Woman exercise walking outdoors on fall season.

Simply taking a light walk after a large meal can reduce the symptoms of bloating, per Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Getting outside and playing a fun game of flag football or hitting your local gym can really help ease your bloat and give you an added energy boost, thanks to endorphins. Don’t feel like heading to the gym when the fam is in town? Here are 9 Ways to Work Out at Home.

Eat the Right Foods

Green fresh healthy smoothie with fruits and vegetables mostly consumed to reduce bloating (celery, cucumber, spinach, banana)

Leftovers are great, but only if you want to feel as lethargic as you did yesterday. Hard pass. Swap the heavy carbs for foods that reduce bloating: Celery, cucumber, spinach, and bananas are some de-bloating all-stars. Ginger is also great for easing bloating and stomach pain. Throw ‘em all in a smoothie before you hit up those Black Friday sales.

(Images: Shutterstock)

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