What to do to feel better after overeating
Summer fun like Fourth of July cookouts, family reunion picnics and neighborhood BBQs include lots of getting together with friends and family—and lots of opportunities to indulge in yummy foods.
But what happens when your eyes are bigger than your stomach in the potluck line? Or you treat yourself to one (okay, three…) extra servings of your Aunt Linda’s amazing apple pie? Your mouth may be happy after a large meal, but your digestive system will feel the pain from overeating.
So what should you do when indigestion sets in?
First, don’t beat yourself up about it. Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, can happen to anyone. But what you do in the aftermath can either help lessen your tummy troubles or make them worse.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to feel better after overeating. These tips are aimed at summer picnic season, but they’re solid ideas to support your gut health year-round.
What causes indigestion?
When you drink or consume more food than your body can handle at once, your muscles, stomach, and intestines stretch out. Once the consumed food and drinks, along with the swallowed air combines with the gases that are formed during digestion, this stretching occurs. Which leaves the resulting, all-too-familiar pain and discomfort of indigestion.
Symptoms of indigestion
How do you know when you’ve eaten too much? Common indigestion symptoms include:
- Pain or burning feeling in the upper abdomen or stomach
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Feeling bloated
- Burping and gas
- Feeling uncomfortably full after eating
- Feeling full too soon during a meal
- Gurgling or growling stomach
Burning deep in the chest, known as heartburn, or acid reflux, can happen along with indigestion. However, heartburn and acid reflux are separate health problems from indigestion.
How to relieve indigestion
As soon as you notice you’re feeling uncomfortably full, take a moment to assess your situation. The first thing to do is press pause on any more food or drinks, even water.
It might seem like a good idea to drink water to flush things through your system. Don’t do it! Adding a glass of water to your digestive tract at this point will only make you feel fuller. Avoid drinking water after a big meal until your stomach feels better.
4 tips to help indigestion:
- If you need to drink something, try sipping on warm peppermint tea or green tea. Warm liquid helps soothe your stomach and peppermint relaxes the esophagus. This can promote burping up trapped air. Getting that extra air out of your stomach will help you feel less bloated and aid digestion.
- Don’t lie down or do anything that puts your head lower than your stomach. This puts pressure on the stomach, causing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus (acid reflux). Instead, stay upright as much as possible. Reclining a little bit is okay.
- Redirect your attention. Don’t focus on how much you ate or the negative emotions you’re feeling. Grab a good book, watch a TV show or do something else to distract yourself.
- After 15 minutes, try getting up and doing some light physical activity or get some fresh air. This encourages the body to stimulate your digestion and get food moving through your body quicker.
After a few hours, the food you’ve eaten will have moved through your stomach and you’ll start to feel better.
There are over-the-counter anti-gas medicines like Gas-X, antacids like Mylanta and Maalox, and stomach-soothers like Pepto-Bismol. These medicines may have unpleasant side effects, though. If you support your body naturally, eventually the pain will pass.
If you experience indigestion frequently, there may be a larger health problem. Call your health care provider and schedule a physical exam. Diagnostic tests like blood tests or an upper endoscopy can help your doctor figure out what’s going on.
Natural Supplements for Digestive Health
People looking for safe, natural relief for indigestion have options, including homeopathic medicines and herbal remedies. Here are some of our favorite natural remedies for overeating:
Gastronic Dr. ™ Veggie Caps for Healthy Digestion is an herbal supplement that can help restore comfort after meals. It supports overall digestive system function and balance, healthy levels of digestive acids in the stomach, and absorption of nutrients.
Natural Moves™ for Bowel Regularity is an herbal formula that supports healthy digestion and elimination, especially as it relates to constipation. It supports the body’s regular toxin and waste removal processes, liver health and peristaltic movement through the digestive tract.
Acid Free-Flux™ for Acid Indigestion Symptoms is a homeopathic medicine for acid reflux and indigestion. It temporarily relieves heartburn and discomfort, soothing the lining of the stomach and esophagus.
Detox Drops™ for Cleansing Support is an herbal supplement for healthy liver functioning and toxin release. It supports the body’s ability to remove waste by-products and toxins, supports health liver functioning and systemic cleansing.
In the face of temptation at summer picnics, it’s natural to overindulge. The best way to prevent indigestion is to avoid eating too much in the first place. But, if it happens, be gentle with yourself and try some of the tips above.