Planning a Thanksgiving Feast? Here’s What It Does to Your Body

By The Captain October 30, 2020

Wellness Captain Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is definitely one of the most celebrated American holidays – and for good reason. From savory meals to kindness and gratitude, this is the perfect occasion to enjoy our loved one’s company.

Sure, I know this year’s Thanksgiving is going to be different for all of us. However, this is the best time to take advantage of technology to keep friends and family close. Check out our list of innovative apps to spend quality time with your family during a pandemic.

Now back to Thanksgiving: since we’ve been spending so much time at home, many of us have improved their cooking skills (I know I did!). For others, this may be the best excuse to order your favorite take-out and eat like nobody’s watching.

Either way, most Thanksgiving dinners turn into a real feast that satisfies your taste buds.

But what about the rest of your body?

According to experts, enjoying such a dinner can have a dramatic impact on many physical functions. Let’s have a look at what Thanksgiving dinners can actually do to us:


Short-term effects

Your stomach is great at getting used to various quantities of foods thanks to a special property: it can literally expand and shrink depending on the situation.

For example, if you’re usually eating small, frequent meals, your stomach will literally be smaller than someone who’s eating only one or two huge meals per day. This is perfectly normal and a sign that you are healthy.

However, Thanksgiving dinners can make even the biggest gourmands eat more than usual. This means your stomach has to expand fast to make room for the foods that keep on coming.

According to Dr. Stephen, Juraschek, primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, this process can lead to discomfort and even cramps.

But wait! There’s more.

Most Thanksgiving menus are filled with starchy foods (carbohydrates), which can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. These facts combined can cause bloating, headaches or heartburn.


RELATED: Did You Know These 7 Foods Can Give You Gas?


‘I need to lay down’

That’s what we usually think after a big meal – but why? Turns out, enjoying a feast can literally drain our energy.

Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner explains that your digestive system consumes plenty of energy to digest all of the foods you’ve just given it. Sometimes, you may even notice that your fingers and toes are cold; that’s because most of the blood goes to your digestive system to speed up the digestion process.


Wellness Captain ATTENTION! If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as diabetes, hypertension or other vascular problems, you really should be more cautious. People with diabetes, for instance, should check their blood sugar levels post-meal, while those with hypertension should reduce their salt intake to avoid fluid retention.


Wellness Captain Thanksgiving Feast

Long-term effects

Luckily, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without worrying about any long-term negative effects on your health.

After all, think about it: there are 365 days in a year, which means you have a total of about 1,000 meals or more. If you’re having one or two mega-meals during this time, your body can most likely handle it.

However, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid any unpleasant digestive symptoms post-Thanksgiving:

  • Don’t skip breakfast. Many people think they should skip breakfast to ‘make room’ for the feast ahead of the day. However, eating a light meal first thing in the morning can kickstart your metabolism, which makes digestion easier throughout the day. Furthermore, Dr. Juraschek points out that eating smaller meals can increase the sense of satiety in your brain.
  • Take a stroll post-dinner. As I’ve said earlier, eating huge meals is energy-draining. However, taking a light walk around the block can ease unpleasant symptoms and help your body manage foods more properly. Also, I think it’s a great way of ending a beautiful evening with your loved ones.


Looking for more useful nutrition content? Try one of our posts:


Wellness Captain What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? Share your recipes in the comment section and let’s cherish each holiday now more than ever!

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Wellness Captain