We all enjoy indulging in delicious, flavorful oily foods once in a while. The crunch of french fries, cheesy pizza, crispy fried chicken, or a rich curry can be hard to resist. However, consuming too much greasy food in one sitting can leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, nauseous, and uncomfortably full. This is because high-fat foods take longer to digest, can irritate the stomach lining, and put extra strain on your digestive system.
The good news is, there are many things you can do to recover from overindulging and get your digestive health back on track. Here are 10 tips on what to do after eating a lot of oily food:
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
One of the first things you should focus on is rehydrating after consuming high-fat foods. Greasy dishes are hard to digest and can dehydrate the body as a lot of water gets used up in digesting fats. This can make you feel tired and weak.
Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, broths, lemon water, coconut water, or diluted fruit juices. Aim for 8-10 glasses spaced throughout the day. Adding mint, cucumber, lemon or ginger can make plain water more palatable. Proper hydration will give your kidneys and liver support in flushing out oil and salt. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks which can further dehydrate you.
2. Go for a Walk
While your first instinct may be to lie down and rest, a light walk can actually help speed up digestion. A 20-30 minute stroll stimulates the muscles in your intestines to push food through faster via peristalsis. The physical activity also gets your blood and lymph fluid circulating which carries away waste products.
The fresh air and movement will provide a boost of energy. Just don’t overexert yourself by doing intense training which can be hard on an oily stomach. A leisurely walk around the neighborhood is all you need.
3. Stick to Lean Protein
Protein provides amino acids essential for repair, muscle growth, and nourishing your body. However, after a fatty meal, stick to lean protein sources that are low in saturated fats. Great options include egg whites, chicken breast, fish, turkey, tofu, legumes, protein powder or Greek yogurt. They will help fill you up without weighing you down like juicy burgers or bacon.
4. Eat High Fiber Foods
Soluble fiber acts like an internal sponge to soak up and sweep out oil and grease left lingering in your digestive tract. Try to incorporate more fiber-rich plant foods like oatmeal, beans, lentils, avocado, apples, berries, psyllium husk or flaxseed into your meals.
Fiber also slows digestion, relieves constipation, reduces cholesterol, and promotes satiety to prevent overeating later on. Just be sure to increase fiber intake gradually to avoid gas or bloating.
5. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that provide a multitude of benefits related to digestive health. They help build a healthy gut microbiome, improve the absorption of nutrients, reduce inflammation, and balance out any disruption caused by high-fat foods.
Look for a broad spectrum probiotic with at least 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) from reputable brands. Taking a probiotic supplement after consuming a lot of oil helps get your gut bacteria back on track. You can also eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut.
6. Avoid Caffeine or Alcohol
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, energy drinks, and black tea can stimulate acid production and aggravate your stomach when you’ve eaten a lot of fat. Alcohol can also inflame the stomach lining and cause nausea or heartburn after a heavy meal.
Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks which can have diuretic and dehydrating effects. Herbal teas, lemon water, coconut water, or decaf coffee are healthier alternatives if you need a pick-me-up.
7. Take Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes supplements help ensure you properly break down and absorb nutrients from your food. Look for a product containing lipase, protease, lactase, cellulase, and other key enzymes. Lipase in particular helps digest fats.
Enzymes reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and fatty stools. Take the supplement capsule just before eating or with your first bite to enhance the digestion process. They provide extra support when your body is working in overdrive to digest excess oil and fat.
8. Relax and Destress
High-stress levels disrupt digestion by redirecting blood flow away from the stomach. Taking time to actively relax tells your body it can resume the digestion process normally. Try meditating, deep breathing exercises, yoga stretches, visualization, or soaking in an Epsom salt bath. Getting tension out of your mind and body enables your digestive system to rebalance.
You can also utilize stress-relieving essential oils like lavender, bergamot, or frankincense. Massage them on your stomach, feet or temples. Use an oil diffuser or add a few drops to your bathwater.
9. Get Moving with Light Exercise
Once you’ve given your body adequate time to digest, some light exercise can further spur digestion and make you feel more energized. Try going for a walk, doing some gentle yoga flows, riding a stationary bike, or lifting some weights. Avoid intense HIIT workouts or running which may be too harsh on a full stomach.
Yoga poses that aid digestion include cat-cow, bridge, fish, and legs up the wall pose. Even just taking a few laps around the house or up and down stairs can get your circulation going. Any gentle movement will support the digestive process.
10. Use Activated Charcoal if Needed
Activated charcoal has a powerful detoxifying effect by binding to toxins in the gut. It helps clear away foul-smelling gas, diarrhea, or oil lingering in the intestines. Charcoal also alleviates bloating and discomfort. Take 500-1000 mg capsules up to 3 times per day as needed, away from food and medications which it can interact with.
However, using charcoal too frequently can deplete essential minerals, so only use occasionally for symptom relief after overeating. Look for a reputable brand and follow package directions. Activated charcoal offers fast relief when you’ve really overdone it on the oil.
Recovering from a high calorie, high fat food binge may take 24-48 hours. Be patient with your body and don’t expect to feel 100% better right away. Implement the tips above to rehydrate, restore digestion, and provide relief without being too harsh. Get back on track by eating light, nourishing foods as the greasiness works its way out of your system. Remember that moderation and balance with indulgences is key for optimal health.