Do you suffer from indigestion?

Many people nowadays seem to suffer from digestive issues including indigestion. Perhaps relating to the types of food being eaten, poor eating habits, emotional tension, or the fast pace of life resulting in eating on the go and in a hurry.

Indigestion is an imbalance in the digestion system and may relate to: insufficient enzyme production, food allergies, imbalances in stomach acid or many other causes. Diets containing a large amount of cooked, processed, and sugary foods can deplete your body's ability to make sufficient digestive enzymes. Also research suggests that by the age of 20 years your enzyme production starts to decline. Compounding this, your stomach produces less hydrochloric acid as you grow older, and hydrochloric acid is crucial in activating your stomach's digestive enzymes.

Fortunately, by following a few simple suggestions and making some basic dietary changes you may be able to digest food more efficiently.

The first part of the digestive process involves thinking about food, producing saliva containing enzymes, and chewing to help break down the food. This decreases the workload of your stomach and small intestine further along your digestive tract. Therefore one simple measure that is often overlooked which may help, is to make time to sit calmly, relax and chew food properly. Eating in a rush, when feeling stressed, multi-tasking or eating on the go is more likely to trigger indigestion. Also, try to sit upright following a meal and eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime. 

By including certain foods in your diet, you may boost your own enzyme production. Heating food renders most enzymes inactive; therefore it may help to eat some foods raw. Enzyme-rich foods include: sprouted seeds and legumes, papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and grapes, avocado, raw honey, bee pollen, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.

Other suggestions that may aid digestion include: eating a green leafy salad before a meal to help optimise your digestion and to add some roughage to your diet, drinking warm water with the juice of half a lemon before a meal, and drinking mint, fennel or chamomile tea after a meal. 

Also by eating less food it lowers your body’s demand for digestive enzymes, so try to finish eating before you feel completely full. Avoid skipping meals or going long gaps without eating.

You may also want to consider a digestive enzyme supplement in addition to the suggested dietary changes to provide the underlying support your body needs to break down foods and absorb vital nutrients. These enzymes work effectively throughout the digestive tract and help to breakdown proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 

For individualised support with your diet and nutritional supplements consult a registered nutritional therapist. If you suffer from indigestion regularly consult your doctor to rule out any other underlying medical problems. Also check with your doctor before taking nutrition supplements.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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