Indigestion is extremely common in the United States. Almost everybody has suffered from an occasional bout of this frustrating condition whether it was caused by eating too much, eating on the run, or eating the wrong mix of foods. Symptoms include pain in the upper part of the torso as well as nausea, bloating, or burping. In some cases, people experience the feeling of heartburn, which causes a burning sensation in the throat. People who are prone to indigestion may suffer from a condition called hydrochloric acid (HCL) deficiency. Levels of HCL can diminish over time, especially when we age. To find out if you are HCL deficient, talk with your natural health practitioner. Here are some natural remedies to help curb the effects of indigestion. Burp!
- To help improve digestion, try eating a yogurt that contains live cultures called acidophilus. This is “friendly bacteria” that works hard to keep your stomach happy and healthy!
- If you are prone to indigestion, try eating well-balanced meals with plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Fresh papaya contains papain which is a good source of digestive enzymes. Pineapple also contains bromelain which has the same effect on the digestive system.
- For disorders such as gas, bloating, and heartburn, try brown rice and/or barley broth. Use 5 parts water to 1 part grain, boil it uncovered for 10 minutes, put the lid on, and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Stain and cool the liquid. Drink it throughout the day.
- Limit your intake of lentils, peanuts, and soybeans. They contain an enzyme inhibitor.
- Do not eat dairy foods, junk foods, or processed foods. These cause excess mucus formation in the stomach.
- Avoid bakery products, beans, caffeine, carbonated beverages, citrus juices, fried or fatty foods, pasta, peppers, potato chips, red meat, tomatoes, and salty/spicy foods.
- Chew your food thoroughly. Digestion is a north to south process.
- Eat your meals in a relaxed state. Turn off the TV to enjoy a peaceful and slow meal.
- Pay attention to food combinations. Proteins and starches are a poor combination as are vegetables and fruits. Milk should not be consumed with meals.
- Many people take antacids to relieve their indigestion. This can actually make matters worse. Antacids neutralize the acid in the stomach, preventing proper digestion and interfering with the absorption of nutrients. Antacids are useless for gas and bloating.
- Most antacids in the United States contain aluminum compounds, calcium carbonate, magnesium compounds, or sodium bicarbonate. The aluminum-based antacids can cause constipation. Sodium bicarbonate can cause gas and bloating.
Yu, W. (2007). What to Eat for What Ails you. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
Balch, P. A (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, NY: Penguin Group