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All about Indigestion and How to Avoid It

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0
girl eating a fruit
Credit: Petr Kratochvil

Almost everyone loves to eat. But, sometimes due to varying reasons a person feels discomfort after consuming a sumptuous meal. For some, they experience indigestion more often than others do. This is typical. As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons or factors that aggravate this digestive problem. In this article, you will read about these factors and at the same time discover some useful tips on how you can prevent it from occurring. Nonetheless, even though this is not a major health problem, it is still best that one enjoys a meal without feeling any distresses afterwards.

Improper diet and eating habits that causes indigestion

Why do people suffer from indigestion? The first thing to consider when a person frequently experience problems relating to digestion is their diet and eating habits. If you eat too much or too fast, there is a high probability that indigestion will occur. Remember, one’s stomach can only digest limited amounts of food for a given period of time. This is because the production of stomach acid is not unlimited. If you continually overeat, acid production gradually depletes causing indigestion. Aside from that, you also have to take note that chewing your food properly will make the digestion process easier and more efficient. Hence, if you eat too fast, your stomach will not be able to properly breakdown every food you have swallowed.

Your diet can also affect your digestion process. One classic example is when you have low salt diet. Keep in mind that the chlorine present in table salt is essential for the production of the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. For that reason, it is best to regulate your salt intake or you can also take HCL supplements. And, of course, fatty and spicy foods can also trigger indigestion. So, if you are fond of eating these kinds of foods, you have a higher risk of experiencing this type of digestive problem. 

diagram of the stomach
Credit: wikimedia common

Lifestyle and indigestion

Another common cause of indigestion is your lifestyle. It is a fact that stress can affect your overall health including your body’s ability to digest food properly. According to several studies, your stress hormone known as cortisol is the one that affects your digestive system. However, the problem is not in your stomach. In this case, acid indigestion in your bile occurs. Remember, cortisol is also in charge of revitalizing your body every morning when you wake up. So, if you are currently dealing with too much stress, your adrenal glands have to increase its workforce to cope. But, it also has its limits. Eventually, it will affect your body’s efficiency, which includes your stomach’s efficiency to break down food.

Aside from stress, other common causes of indigestion that relates to your lifestyle are too much alcohol and nicotine consumption. Both these two substances can irritate your digestive tract especially alcohol since it also affects your liver. This will lead to a decreased production of both acid and enzymes needed for digestion. 

Other causes

When it comes to your digestion process there are certain medical conditions that can also affect its efficiency. Take hepatitis for example. Since the liver plays a major role in producing digestive enzymes, people suffering from  this medical condition may not be able to efficiently process their food. Other conditions such as ulcer, pancreatitis, gastritis and cholecystitis may also contribute to indigestion. Aside from medical conditions, some medications can also affect your digestion process. Antibiotics, aspirin and other drugs under the NSAIDs category are some of the medications that cause adverse reactions to your gastrointestinal tract.

Aside from these factors or causes mentioned above, age also plays a role in your digestion process. Remember, as a person gets old, your body undergoes a wear and tear process. So, evidently, your body will not be able to function as efficiently as it used to be when you are in your early twenties. 

Eat fruits and vegetables
Credit: Petr Kratochvil

Ways to prevent indigestion

Knowing the different causes of indigestion, you can easily prevent it by first making healthy choices for your food and lifestyle. Foods that are rich in fiber should be added in your daily meals. Studies have also shown that probiotics, peppermint tea, ginger and artichoke-leaf extract are supplements that you can take to improve your digestion process. You should also observe proper table manners or eating habits during and after meals. And, of course, your lifestyle. If you smoke or drink alcohol every day, as much as possible try to lessen it or quit. If you are stressed, there are a lot of anti-stress activities and remedies you can do. If you are feeling the pressure, relieve yourself from stress before it completely affects your overall health. 

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Bibliography

  1. Steve Thompson "Common Causes of Indigestion." Yahoo! Voices. 10/04/2013 <Web >
  2. Andrew Weil MD "Indigestion." WEIL. 10/04/2013 <Web >
  3. DR. JONATHAN V. WRIGHT, MD "The Digestive Theory of Aging ." Tahoma Clinic Blog. 10/04/2013 <Web >

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