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Tummy time out

 | September 6, 2012

Dealing with indigestion and all those uneasy bloated feeling.

FEATURE

The good news is indigestion is not a disease. That though does not ease the uncomfortable feeling of bloating and stomach pains that typically signify indigestion.

The reason your tummy acts up is because there is inadequate production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) by the stomach, the body’s most important digestive processes. When food is not digested properly, it ferments in the stomach, releasing hydrogen, carbon dioxide and organic acids that cause you to feel bloated and ‘gassy’.

HCl helps break down proteins in foods, aids in the absorption of certain minerals, and also protects the stomach by neutralising bacteria, viruses, and molds ingested with food before they can cause gastrointestinal infection. Levels of HCl decline with age, which is one reason why indigestion affects the elderly more. Nutritionists also believe that indigestion is also a result of lack of this stomach acid. The easiest way to minimise the problem is to watch what you’re eating.

Change your diet to limit processed and fried foods that contain excess salt and fat. Spicy foods can also be hard on the stomach, so limit your intake if you have a sensitivity towards it. Whenever possible, try eating raw vegetables to preserve their plant enzymes that in turn, help your stomach break down the foods you eat. Our body does produce digestive enzymes naturally but because of our bad eating habits (processed foods, fast foods, etc), this ability has been compromised resulting in various ailments including indigestion.

You should also avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks that cause stomach irritation and accumulation of excess air in your stomach. Opt for a cup of tea (a natural diuretic) and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Eating within two hours of bedtime helps, too.

For a natural solution, try the following:

Take a zinc and l-carnosine supplement: This particular combination has been shown to protect and promote the health of the stomach lining without suppressing stomach acid and control stomach bacteria levels.

Drink aloe vera juice: The plant is known for its healing properties and aids in calming the stomach.

Sip chamomile tea after meals: Studies show that this can help reduce esophageal irritation.

Have papaya for dessert: Papaya contains papain, the enzyme that naturally soothes stomach upset.


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