Be merry, but you don’t have to overdo it this Christmas. *MCT photo
Be merry, but you don’t have to overdo it this Christmas. *MCT photo

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7: The holiday season is here and with it comes the temptation to eat, drink and be merry.

Unfortunately, for many of us, that can lead to overdoing it and leave us feeling less than festive. But it doesn’t have to; it is possible to enjoy all the best of the holiday season and still keep our health in check.

Food is associated with many traditions and most holiday gatherings involve food and drink. And so, whether at a special holiday dinner, a cocktail party or a casual get-together, it is difficult to avoid the lure of delicious nibbles.

The trick is to not overdo it. Overeating, particularly typical holiday foods that tend to be fatty or full of sugar, can quickly lead to heartburn (a symptom of indigestion that results in a feeling of burning and pain in the chest), gas and bloating.

Don’t avoid your favourite holiday foods, but limit the amount of food you put on your plate so you don’t eat too much. Don’t fill up on nibbles such as chips and nuts between meals. Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly to limit gas and bloating.

Eating slowly also lets you feel when you are full so you don’t eat more than you should, and allows you to better enjoy the flavours of the food.

If temptation is too great and you end up feeling uncomfortable from gas, bloating or heartburn, antacids available without a prescription, such as Mylanta, Maalox, Tums or Diovol, can provide quick relief. Other acid reducers like Zantac or Pepcid may also help. Take according to the package directions and sit up for about two hours to let your stomach settle (lying down can worsen heartburn). However, talk to your pharmacist if you find you are taking antacids on a regular basis or for a period of two weeks or more.

Parties and celebrations often call for a drink or two, and we all know the best way to avoid a hangover is to limit the amount you drink. Be sure to eat first and drink plenty of water before and between alcoholic beverages.

Alternate between alcoholic drinks and a festive non-alcoholic choice to help pace the amount of alcohol you consume.

If your festive cheer becomes more than a drink or two and you find yourself dealing with the effects of a hangover, the only true cure is time.

However, to ease symptoms, drink plenty of water or fruit juice and eat bland foods. Some people find that taking ginger or peppermint can help to settle the stomach.

Pain relievers such as Aspirin, Advil or Motrin can help with headaches, however these could interact with other medications so should be discussed with a pharmacist.

Acetaminophens, such as Tylenol, can be hard on the liver if taken with alcohol and should be avoided.

Over the holidays it is also important to limit commitments, keep your stress in check, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly and remember to eat loads of fruits and vegetables.

None of us wants to spend the holidays worrying about overeating, overdrinking or otherwise overindulging.

Enjoy everything the season has to offer, just keep these tips in mind to avoid overdoing it.

And Happy Holidays to everyone from all of us at Lindo’s Pharmacy.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. For helpful information, visit Lindo’s at www.lindos.bm.