No, one heavy meal will not make you obese or overweight but it will give you a bloated stomach and heartburn if you are not smart about it. What causes overweight is the continued consumption of excessive calories without being active enough to burn them. Three unhealthy meals in a day are way worse than one healthy meal. You need to be careful about the frequency of heavy meals because your digestive system adapts to how much you give it and the last thing you want is the feeling of being constantly hungry. After eating a heavy meal, especially a fatty one, you need to help your body digest it as quickly as possible to prevent gas build-up and these 10 steps are the best way to do it.
Drink Warm Water
Some nutritionists recommend drinking hot water or tea after a heavy meal to activate your metabolism. Warm water is a lot better because you will drink a lot of it in one sitting. Water improves your metabolism and helps your body dissolve and absorb nutrients quickly. The water also reduces the risk of gas build up and constipation since your small intestines absorb more water after a heavy meal because it stays for long in the gut. You should avoid cold water though because it slows metabolism and makes you lethargic which won’t help with your digestion situation.
Take a Walk
It is important to take a walk because it doesn’t just help your body digest food it also activates the breakdown of fats. As you walk, your body burns a type of fats called triglycerides for energy creating room for digestion of more fats. The walk also helps your gut in moving the food along as it is digested. You body digests food faster when you are active than sedentary, meaning the longer your walk, the faster you will fell less full.
Avoid Lying Down
The body digests food faster when you are in an upright position because the digestive system also relies on gravity. After a heavy meal, you need more food interacting with the surface of your gut to be digested and that won’t happen when you are lying down. Lying down also increases the risk of food refluxing into your oesophagus resulting in heartburn. You should therefore try to stay upright for at least two hours after the meal for the food to digest properly.
Pack On Probiotics
If there was ever a great time to sip Kombucha, it is after eating a heavy meal. The same goes for other fermented foods such as Kefir, Tempeh, Kimchi, Yoghurt and sauerkraut. You should make the probiotic food as light as possible so that it doesn’t become another burden for your gut. Probiotics help the gut break down food and absorb nutrients quickly.
Don’t Go Binge Drinking
It is true that eating on an empty stomach is recipe for disaster but the same goes for drinking on a bloated stomach. While alcohol is absorbed faster when taken on an empty stomach, is also interferes with digestion and absorption of food resulting in bloating, heartburn and possibly vomiting. If you are planning on drinking heavily after a meal, you should give yourself a break of up to three hours for partial digestion to be completed and food to settle in the lower part of your gut before drinking.
Skip The Cold Snacks
It is normal to go for ice cream after a meal when on holiday or munch on a popsicle or whatever cold snacks may be available. The last thing your body needs after eating a big meal is a cold snap because that slows down metabolism causing acid build-up. The same happens when you relax or take a nap after a heavy meal. Try to stay active and be on the warm side of drinks and snacks and keep them to a minimum.
Drink a Green smoothie
The habit of detoxing after a heavy meal actually works if you use the right drink. Drinking green tea, warm milk, lemon water and Churan work as good antiacids and also aid in digestion. You can also go green by munching on a fibre-rich fruit or vegetable such as an apple, celery, spinach or cabbage. The best way is to turn these green vegetables into a smoothie and make it as light as possible. The smoothie helps activate the release of more acid and digestive enzymes to break down the food. The fibre is also rich in probiotics which quicken digestion.
Plan a Lighter Meal Afterwards
Consecutive heavy meals take a toll on your gut and the acid reflux and bloating are not worth it. After a heavy meal, whether it is for dinner or breakfast, try to delay for at least six hours before your next meal and make it as light as possible. A Banana, rice and bread base diet is recommended because it is easy on your gut.
Get a sauna/massage
Ever wondered why a sauna feels so comforting after a heavy meal? Well, it is all about improved circulation which helps improve the absorption of nutrients and that helps speed up digestion. A good massage about an hour after a heavy meal also helps speed up digestion and prevent acid reflux.
Go for Yoga/Stretch exercise
Yoga is one of the most wholesome therapies you could have and it works for all your body muscles. Exercise that involves stretching muscles increases the surface area of your gut which means more food gets digested. The stretching also increases metabolism resulting in faster digestion. If you love cycling, then you are in luck too because that works just as well as a yoga session.
Do you know of any other actions you should take after eating a heavy meal? Do let us know in the comments below.