From time to time, everyone experiences symptoms of indigestion or heartburn. Often, these symptoms occur following a big meal. An estimate five million men in the United States alone are affected by indigestion at one time or another. However, some people experience more frequent digestive problems.
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your digestive health and reduce the chance of indigestion. Here are five specific things that can help.
1. Eat a Diet High in Fiber
Not only will adding plenty of fiber to your diet prevent indigestion, it will also improve your overall digestive health. The modern person eats a diet made up of too much junk food and fast food. In addition, most people eat high-fat meals made of mostly meat. These types of foods only help to worsen episodes of indigestion.
In addition to improving digestion, a high-fiber diet can also aid in preventing heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and a host of other diseases. To increase the amount of fiber in your diet, add more fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals.
For those that suffer with frequent indigestion, it may also be wise to avoid food that can give you gas, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, baked beans, and carbonated drinks and sodas. Drinking enough water is also a good idea, as it helps to lubricate the food within the digestive tract, and helps dissolve minerals, vitamins and other nutrients so they are more easily absorbed by your body.
2. Chew your Food
Proper chewing may be one of the most forgotten of all the habits for good digestion. Chewing helps to break down your food, and the motion signals the body to begin to release digestive enzymes. Take the time to ensure that you chew each bite well.
In addition, make sure you don't overeat. It can be an easy thing to do, especially with the portion sizes doled out in many restaurants. The larger your meal is, the more acid your stomach needs to produce to properly digest the food. In turn, this extra acid can increase the your chances of developing heartburn or indigestion.
3. Exercise Regularly and Avoid Stress
Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, while improving your digestive health. Regular exercise can help to avoid obesity, which can lead to such digestive problems as diarrhea, stomach pain, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Excess stress can also have a negative effect on your digestion. Stress reduces blood flow to the abdomen. It also can reduce the production of digestive enzymes, which in turn slows the digestive process and can lead to indigestion and heartburn.
4. Don't Overuse Antacids
When trying to rid yourself of heartburn or indigestion symptoms, you may be tempted to take more than the recommended dose of your favorite anatacid. Stomach acids can sometime reflux, or back up, into the esophagus which causes the burning sensation of indigestion.
Over-the-counter antacids usually work to neutralize stomach acid, but overuse can cause more harm than good. Too much antacid can cause your stomach to lose acidity, which will impair its ability to properly digest your food, and leave you susceptible to bacterial infections.
5. Supplement your Digestive System
Digestive enzyme supplements can be a great way to decrease the occurrence of heartburn. These enzymes are source from plant fiber, and help to enhance your body's ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
If you are in poor health, or have an unhealthy diet, you likely do not have adequate amounts of digestive enzymes. Even otherwise healthy people can benefit from digestive supplements, especially if they are experiencing heartburn or indigestion.
While there are certainly other things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing indigestion, these five will get you well on your way, not only to eliminating your symptoms, but to an overall healthier body.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'v been having indigestion after i eat anything i'm a pescetarian and i eat plenty of friuts an vegtables ( 7 servings a day ) why am i having this problem?
I also drink lots of water and pescetarian means i don't eat poultry, pork or beef.
You could have a hiatal hernia, or reflux.
Try avoiding liquids 30 min before or after meals. Sometimes mixing the two can make it easier for food to "come back up."
Also try sitting upright/standing for at least an hour after eating, rather than reclining or lying down. Some people even lift the head of their beds or raise their mattresses 6" or so, to make the food have to come back up against gravity. Hey, whatever works.
I am not sure what indigestion feels like-i have always heard people talk about having it but never exp. it myself, lately i have had a pressure type pain in my upper stomach towards the chest area, it would be off and on but today pretty much all day-is it possible to have it this long, and does it sound like indigestion? It feel like i need to burp(sorry) to relieve the pressure/pain, it is more annoying sometimes than painful and other times the pain is annoying-also is there reasons other than certain foods that cause it?thank you-oh and what would be good to take for relief?
Indigestion is the term used to describe pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest after meals. The medical term for this is dyspepsia. Sometimes it is also used to describe a distinctive burning feeling in the chest, known as heartburn. Most people have suffered from indigestion after a large meal at some time, and up to one in four adults suffer from heartburn each year.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of indigestion are:
pain, fullness or discomfort in the upper part of your abdomen or chest
loss of appetite
feeling sick or being sick
flatulence, burping or belching
What to take?
These neutralise acid, or help to stop the stomach contents flowing back (refluxing) into the oesophagus. They come as tablets, capsules, liquids or powders. Examples of antacid brands include Rennies and Gaviscon.
Why is it that drinking water will cause me to have indigestion.
If you already have an acidy stomache problem, the water is making your belly more full, and you might burp up some acid or have gastric reflux. Take a TUMS with that water.
What are some natural remedies for indigestion?
So far, i've been having gas and a stomach that went from flat to a very noticeable bulge. The thing that started it my indigestion was stress and Chinese food. Does anyone know any remedies that would provide quick/instant relief from indigestion?
Cut back the greasy American version of Chinese for one... don't eat onions, garlic, processed foods, beans, yeast, dairy or anything you know is hard for you to digest. Fast from food or just eat apples for a day and give your digestive tract a rest. Add fiber to your diet, Alfalfa is a natural a concentrated nutrient source that is rich in insoluble fiber and therefore aids digestive elimination.
Check out an acupressure book or website and massage anything you can find related to digestion. There are four points around your navel in a square shape, feel around and see if anything is sore, if it is rub it in a circular motion.
Peppermint tea and Chamomile tea is great, so drink that daily if you like it.
As far as supplements go look into enzymes.
What can you do to help indigestion during pregnancy?
My indigestion is unbearable! I am 11 weeks pregnant and every evening I get this horrible taste in my mouth and I feel like I am going to throw up. I feel short of breath and my mouth is full of syliva. It is so bad I have to spit constantly. What can I do to help with the indigestion and the bad taste in my mouth? I appreciate any help I can get!
My doctor recommended Mylanta.