Natural Indigestion Remedies
With colder weather and shorter days, plenty of folks are likely to find themselves eating and drinking more high-calorie foods than usual, sometimes under stressful conditions. Unfortunately, too much rich food and too little activity, combined with stress, is a bad combination that can sometimes lead to indigestion.
Here are a few things you can do to alleviate—or prevent—indigestion.
The are many possible causes of indigestion, and some can be serious. If symptoms persist, or get worse, consult your doctor. Most indigestion is related to the food and drink we consume. The most obvious advice, therefore, is to avoid overeating. Drastic changes in the diet often precipitate indigestion, especially when changes include overeating, or indulging in high-fat foods. Stick with whole plant foods featuring plenty of natural dietary fiber to keep your gut happy, and indigestion at bay. These types of foods also help you feel fuller, longer, so you’ll be less tempted to overeat later.
If you’re prone to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), avoid eating anything at all within three hours of bedtime. This is one of the simplest, most effective ways to avoid reflux while lying down, which is when most such attacks occur. If indigestion strikes, consider using natural food-based remedies, rather than over-the-counter antacids or prescription anti-GERD medications. Some of the latter have been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones) and other conditions. They should be avoided if at all possible.
Start with ginger. This fragrant, pungent root can be consumed in tea, added to food, or eaten out of hand. Although I don’t normally recommend anything with added sugar, try nibbling on a piece of candied ginger root to quell nausea. You can find it in most grocery stores, either in the produce area or the spice aisle. Ginger is naturally anti-inflammatory and helps settle unhappy stomachs. It’s great for nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness, too. Dried, ground ginger is also available in pills, or try sprinkling a little into unsweetened applesauce. Ginger is an important part of many cuisines, and it’s equally good in sweet and savory dishes.
Bromelain is an enzyme that occurs naturally in fresh pineapple. This protein has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and it’s an excellent aid to digestion. Try eating fresh pineapple, instead of rich desserts, or look for bromelain in the health food store, where it’s available as a supplement. One or two pills may help quell occasional indigestion the natural way.
Whole Grains, Legumes and Nuts
Nuts are among nature’s superfoods, because they provide heart-healthy fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins, while helping control appetite. Snack on a small handful of almonds before a meal, for example, and you’ll be less likely to overeat. Overeating is one of the chief causes of indigestion. Whole grains and legumes (beans, etc.) provide lots of fiber to help keep you feeling full, while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. They also keep your friendliest gut bacteria happy, which may also promote better digestion.
Finally, try drinking water after a meal, rather than during. Liquids consumed while eating may dilute the natural acids in your stomach, hindering digestion.