How to Prevent Indigestion

by Wellness Editor – MH

There’s a good chance that, after eating a particularly large meal in a short amount of time, you felt all but incapacitated afterwards. You don’t have to mimic the accomplishments of Joey Chestnut to develop indigestion (for those not aware, Chestnut set a new world record for hot dog consumption in July 2013, scarfing down 69 of them in 10 minutes). People often overeat at meals, especially during holidays, leading to subsequent feelings of bloating, nausea, gas and abdominal pain. Fortunately, a little common sense can go a long way towards fending off this common digestive problem.

How the Gears Grind to a Halt

In short, indigestion can be simply defined as an adverse reaction by to food that is consumed in a rapid manner (the same problem can occur by overeating). The stomach is quickly overwhelmed by this onslaught, and in response its acids might be pushed upward into the esophagus, leading to the much-lamented problem of heartburn.

In addition to eating too much food too quickly, the type of fare you put into your body can also lead to indigestion. Specifically, spicy and items can often wreck havoc with the digestive system. The same can be said of foods high in fat, as well as carbonated and alcoholic beverages. The list of culprits includes French fries, friend chicken, fast food hamburgers, potato chips, chilli, soda and processed cheese.

If you watch what you eat yet still find yourself pestered by indigestion, the root cause of your digestive issues might be related to your mental health. Both stress and anxiety can exact a hefty physical toll on the body, and have been known to cause indigestion. This issue can also arise following the consumption of certain antibiotics, iron supplements and pain relievers.

Indigestion and Disease

While most cases of indigestion result from poor dietary choices, this condition can signify the presence of more serious medical problems. The list below provides some brief descriptions of the potential triggers of indigestion:

Peptic Ulcers – A fair number of people develop holes in the lining of their esophagus, stomach or small intestine. These holes, known as peptic ulcers, make their presence felt by causing nagging pain in the abdominal area.

Gallstones – There are few medical problems that can induce as much pain as gallstones. Gallstones are accumulated deposits of digestive fluids, which eventually harden into solid “stones.” Though many gallstones are not large enough to cause problems, larger stones can block the ducts used by your live to usher bile into the small intestine.

Gastritis – Gastritis strikes the lining of the stomach, and can usually be blamed on stress, heavy alcohol consumption or certain forms of bacteria. This condition typically results in the stomach lining becoming inflamed or irritated, and can also erode the tissues that form this protective layer of insulation. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications (many of which can be bought without a prescription) have been known to cause gastritis as a side effect.

Celiac disease – Life without a functioning immune system wouldn’t be difficult – it would be downright impossible. Your body needs its immune system to beat back the endless numbers of bacteria and viruses trying to kill it. Unfortunately, sometimes the immune system does its job too well, resulting in overzealous reactions to harmless substances. One such overreaction (specifically to gluten) causes celiac disease, a condition that leads to frequent diarrhea and unexplained weight loss, among many other symptoms.

Avoiding Indigestion

Given that indigestion is often a self-inflicted problem, preventing it is simply a matter of practicing reasonable self-restraint.

  • Instead of plowing through food, take about 20 minutes to finish your meal.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep your mouth closed while chewing; doing so is not only polite (as your parents doubtlessly told you over and over), but it also prevents air from flooding into your throat while you eat. All of that excess air can turn into excess gas once inside the stomach.
  • Another way to cut indigestion off at the pass is to reduce your consumption of the aforementioned foods and drinks, if not eliminating them from your diet altogether.
  • A sluggish digestion is often preceded by a large meal. Therefore, it might make sense to replace these sizable meals with smaller servings of food scattered throughout the day.
  • When deciding what to eat, you might consider choosing items that are high in fiber, a nutrient known for promoting better digestive health. High-fiber products include beans, green peas, raspberries and whole wheat bread.
  • There are many reasons to perform aerobic exercises, which are defined simply as activities that increase the body’s need for oxygen. One benefit that often goes overlooked is the positive effect of aerobic exercises on your digestive system. Thirty minutes per day of aerobic exercise should allow you body to digest food more efficiently. It should be noted that it’s best to wait two to three hours after eating before exercising.
  • If persistent stress is affecting your digestive health, you might stand to benefit from taking up yoga and/or meditation. Regular exercise also helps to address this problem.

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