Nougat candy, barbecued pork, and cider are not the only causes of stomachaches you will be at risk for this New Year if you do not take care of yourself.
Quite frequently, the culprit behind what the experts has called "the holiday aches” is an excess of highly caloric and overly seasoned foods. Gastroenterologists at the University of Michigan assure that stomachaches can also be produced by traveling during this time of year along with the usual stress of December.
"Traveling can be stressful and it can be especially harmful to the stomach", explains Sandra Hoogerwerf, assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UM Medical School. "People tend to experience abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or a combination of any of these symptoms when they go on trips."
Some keys to maintaining a happy and healthy belly are:
Try not to confuse your stomach when traveling by plane.You have to keep track of your meals as you travel. Eventually, you should also have some sort of over the counter medicine handy in case of emergency. Just as a person's sleep cycle can be altered when traveling, so can the natural rhythm of your digestive system. The internal clock that monitors hunger and intestinal movements can become off balance. "The belly's rhythm gets off beat when a person travels, especially if they cross time zones. Suddenly, you are awake when you should be sleeping, and you eat when you should have been sleeping. Essentially, your digestive system gets confused when you travel on planes and this can cause you a lot of gastronomical problems," says Hoogerwerf.
Try not to eat in the car.If you are traveling by car and the trip lasts a couple of days, take the necessary time to stop and eat proper meals. Hoogerwerf advises that you give your digestive system time to adjust to the new schedule. An East Coast belly might need a few days to get used to the West Coast life. The digestive system needs time to find its new rhythm. "If a person respects his biological rhythms, he will not feel as irritated, tired or exhausted and his belly will be much more at ease," added the specialist.
Big meals, problems for big bellies.Especially during the Holidays, we tend to treat ourselves to a feast high in calories and fat. In addition to the increase in alcohol consumption, people tend to drink more sodas and eat sandwiches in between meals. Frequently, people chow down because they're in a hurry to catch a plane, buy gifts or put life in order before December 31," says Hoogerwerf. "This form of eating only worsens gastronomical problems that we already suffer from.”
That is why Hoogerwerf recommends that when you are traveling, you eat light foods and watch out for an excess consumption of caffeinated drinks. "People drown themselves in caffeine to stay awake during long trips. However, caffeine can have many negative, side effects on the stomach: acidity, indigestion and worsened diarrhea."
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