Helping to prevent indigestion - Simple dietary and lifestyle changes could help
Most people will experience indigestion at some point in their lives. However, if you experience the unpleasant and sometime embarrassing symptoms of indigestion on a regular basis, then dietary and lifestyle changes may help.
As you may know, symptoms of indigestion include:
- A burning sensation after eating, which may last minutes or hours and can be relieved by taking an antacid.
- A burning sensation in the throat or regurgitation of a hot, sour fluid into your throat or mouth.
- Wind or belching and/or bloating.
- Abdominal pain, which gets worse when lying down.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Causes of indigestion include:
- Smoking (which dries up saliva which helps neutralise acid).
- Foods like chocolate and spicy foods.
- Drinks like orange juice, coffee and alcohol.
- Stress or anxiety which can disrupt the action of the stomach and intestinal muscles necessary for digestion.
- Being overweight.
- Talking when eating or chewing with your mouth open, which can cause air to be swallowed, leading to bloating and indigestion.
Depending on the cause of your indigestion, the following may help:
- Avoid over eating (which is common, if say, you watch TV while you eat).
- Limit alcohol, which can increase acid production.
- Reduce coffee, which can act as an irritant.
- Eating two or three hours before going to bed (when you can) and avoid lying down too soon after a meal.
- Elevating your head in bed when sleeping by about six inches.
- Losing weight.
There are other natural remedies you can try while you address the causes of your indigestion, such as aloe vera juice which helps sooth an irritated oesophagus and liquorice, which helps to repair the mucous lining of the stomach (please note that you should not take liquorice if you suffer from high blood pressure).
If you find applying the above measures do not get rid of your heartburn then consult with a qualified nutritional therapist who can help you further.
See your doctor to rule out other causes if:
- If you have pain more than twice a week, as it may indicate a peptic ulcer, liver or gall bladder disorder.
- If food is hard to swallow/sticks in your throat.
- If you are vomiting or passing black stools
- if you are over 45 and are suffering from persistent symptoms.
- If your chest pain is crushing rather than burning or is accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating or pain that radiates to your arm/jaw – it may be a heart attack, so seek medical help immediately.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor/pharmacist or a nutritionist before taking supplements.