Almost 30% of people experience regular indigestion and its symptoms are almost always triggered by eating.
They can begin any time during a meal or up to about 20 to 30 minutes after, and they tend to come in the form of:
- Abdominal Pain
- Acid Reflux
Thankfully, there are remedies, supplements, minerals, and lifestyle changes you can use to prevent and manage indigestion.
Keep reading for four easy tips you can easily incorporate to reduce indigestion.
TIP 1 - DRINK ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF WATER
You'll need more than a glass a day to keep indigestion away.
Your body requires adequate amounts of water in order to absorb and digest chyme, a semi-fluid mass of partly digested food.
With indigestion, a stomach flare-up acts as a distress signal of how much harder your body is trying to work at the task of digesting.
A glass of water might help soothe the pain in the short term, but drinking adequate amounts of water can help to minimize indigestion and help your body's natural systems.
TIP 2 - DRINK ANTI-INFLAMMATORY TEAS
- Fennel Seed
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Peppermint: An excellent choice for indigestion, especially the kind that tends to be accompanied by rapid onset nausea and diarrhea. Drinking a mug of peppermint-infused tea will help soothe your upset stomach.
Chamomile: Contains anti-inflammatory properties, which eases the feeling of vigorous contortions from your insides. Add no more than two bags of ground chamomile in boiling water (with a tablespoon of honey, if you wish) and leave it to steep for about 10 minutes.
Fennel Seed: A natural, antispasmodic herb that soothes both thoracic and gastrointestinal upsets including indigestion, cramping, bronchial blockage, and acid reflux.
Apple cider vinegar: A well-known natural remedy whose healing properties go well beyond indigestion. Claims have been made (and validated) for the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in improving the skin and hastening weight loss. When it comes to indigestion, though, it plays a more restorative role: it replenishes your stomach’s gastric mucosa by forcing your goblet cell glands to secrete more of their protective epithelial lining.
Ginger: While apple cider vinegar combats irritation due to depletion of the protective acid lining, ginger-infused teas are meant to deal with an over-production of it. You can choose between ginger-infused teas or ginger ales and candies.
TIP 3 - BRAT DIET
BRAT is an acronym for a diet consisting of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. It’s often recommended for people with gastrointestinal upsets that lead to diarrhea.
As the BRAT diet consists mostly of bland foods, digestion of its nutrients begins at the mouth (via chewing) which means that any substances that can irritate the intestines, throat, and stomach are dealt with much earlier on in the digestive process.
It’s a starch-heavy diet—a deliberate recommendation that is meant to help bind digested food much more firmly post-digestion. This helps reduce the number of bowel movements needed while soothing any tissue irritation that might occur in the gullet from vomiting.
The BRAT diet can be extended to other similarly constituted foods, as long as they’re rich in magnesium and potassium.
In the meantime, stay away from:
- Cigarettes and tobacco pipes: The resulting smoke will further irritate your tender esophageal lining
- Booze: Hard liquor such as gin, vodka, scotch, and whisky cause direct damage to your stomach lining
- Foods that are hard to digest: Anything fried, fatty, creamy, salty, heavily processed, or preserved
TIP 4 - LIFESTYLE CHANGES
In general, try to:
- Eat slowly and mindfully.
- Avoid snacking late at night.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Eat small meals throughout the day.
- Don't eat right before bed.
- Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before bed.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid highly processed foods.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR?
In most cases, symptoms of indigestion will go away on their own after a couple of hours. If symptoms persist beyond a day, particularly with diarrhea and vomiting, seek medical attention.
This is especially important for children and older adults who tend to get dehydrated much quicker than able-bodied adults. Contact a doctor if your indigestion is also accompanied by any of these symptoms:
- Chronic constipation
- High fever
- Pain in the joints
- Blood in the stool or vomit
WHAT FOODS TO AVOID FOR CHRONIC INDIGESTION?
- Dairy Products
- Citric Fruits and Juices
- Hard Liquor
- Heavily Caffeinated Foods and Beverages
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ACID REFLUX, HEARTBURN, AND INDIGESTION?
Normally, indigestion is felt as a sharp discomfort in the upper, left abdomen.
Heartburn (or acid reflux—they’re pretty much the same thing) is a more pronounced burning sensation in your upper thorax, typically behind the center rib area or in the throat.
It occurs when esophageal muscles fail to close, thus allowing the stomach’s acidic content back up the gullet.