An introduction to remedies for indigestion
Indigestion is something we have all come across. Some have the occasional bout following a bit of overindulgence which we could call ‘normal indigestion’, whereas others have repeated and troublesome symptoms caused by ‘indigestion problems’.
If you have experienced indigestion, you will know that symptoms can have a major impact on your lifestyle. Here are a few ways in which you can help yourself feel better.
These lifestyle tips can help you regardless of the severity of your indigestion symptoms:
- Eat slowly. Chew each mouthful 20 times. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to be troubled by indigestion symptoms, particularly bloating or flatulence
- Eat smaller meals more regularly. Long periods between meals can cause acid levels to increase in your stomach. Eating small regular meals will be much kinder on your stomach and will help if you have stomach pains or discomfort
- Keep your weight down. Being overweight increases your chances of indigestion. Losing weight will help your symptoms, aside from the other health benefits it will bring to you
- Rest after a meal. Don’t exercise immediately after eating as your body will not have had the chance to digest food properly
- Don’t eat late at night. Give your body time to digest your evening meal. This is important advice for people suffering from heartburn.
What you eat will have a significant impact on your digestive system.
Certain foods can trigger indigestion symptoms more than others, so it is important to learn the ones you should avoid. In general, fatty or spicy foods are more difficult to digest, requiring the stomach to produce more acid.
Eat more wholefoods or foods which have not been been overly processed or refined. Having more fibre in your diet will help your digestive system in a variety of ways and is also good for your general heath.
Also, be aware that some medicines may trigger indigestion. Examples are popular painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as well as steroids prescribed by your doctor. If you think that the medicines you are taking are triggering indigestion, discuss alternatives with your doctor.
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Are there herbal and natural remedies to help me?
Bitter stomach herbs are usually a good place to start. This is a class of medicinal plants with a bitter taste – popular examples are artichoke and dandelion. The bitter taste on the tongue triggers production of gastric juices in the stomach, encouraging better digestion.
Ali's TOP TIP: Bitter herbs are best taken in liquid form 5 to 10 minutes before each meal. Digestisan contains the tinctures of artichoke, dandelion, boldo and peppermint, and helps relieve bloating, fullness and flatulence.
L+ lactic acid can also help the digestive process. This substance is derived from fermented whey and has been used as a digestive supplement in Switzerland for decades.
TIP: Molkosan Digestion is rich in L+ lactic acid which supports good gut bacteria. It also contains calcium which contributes to the normal functioning of digestive enzymes. Take one glass daily to help maintain the health of your digestive system.
Finally, traditionally potato juice has also been used to help treat symptoms of indigestion and recently, research has backed this use. Read more on what the research says on our blog on this topic.
What about conventional remedies
If herbal and natural remedies for indigestion are not your answer, then you might wish to consider using medicines prescribed by your doctor or from the pharmacy. These are:
- Antacids – these ‘anti-acids’ work by neutralising the acid already present in the stomach. They are used for mild symptoms of indigestion and heartburn, and should only be taken for short periods of time
- H2 blockers – these work by reducing the production of acid in the stomach
- Proton pump inhibitors – these were designed to provide a longer-lasting reduction in the amount of acid produced by the stomach. They are the strongest type of medicine available, but it is important to be aware of the possible side effects before using them.