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By Fatmah Azam Ali

Acid Indigestion- Is it bothering you?


What is Acid Indigestion?

A common digestive problem suffered by millions of people throughout the world. It is characterized by a burning discomfort in the pit of the stomach. The problem of indigestion is known as one of the problems associated with GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux disease). It is also known as Dyspepsia.

Symptoms of Acid Indigestion Include:

  • Abdominal fullness
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Burning sensation after eating
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Excess gas
  • An acid taste in mouth

Common Causes of this problem

  1. Overeating (Consuming too much of rich and spicy food)
  2. Alcohol consumption
  3. Smoking
  4. Stress
  5. Lack of physical activity
  6. Chocolate consumption
  7. Consuming caffeinated products such as coffee
  8. Consumption of carbonated drinks
  9. Drinking milk on an empty stomach
  10. Citrus fruits and fruits consumption

Your Diet:

It is said that “You are what you eat” and therefore correcting your diet and carrying out some changes in it can bring this the problem of acid indigestion to an end. Having proper parts of primary, secondary and tertiary foods can help you bring about a change in your life plus it will help you get rid of this problem. To know what these primary, secondary and tertiary foods are and how much it should be consumed, refer to the information below:

Primary foods: Whole grains and protein-rich foods are included in this category. Primary foods should make up 20-30% of our diet as they are rich in fiber and prevents over-stimulation of pancreas.

Secondary foods: Foods in this category include fresh seasonal fruits. They can be lightly cooked, if wished. They should comprise 30-40% of our diet.

Tertiary foods: Included in this category are dairy products and poultry products such as eggs and other fruits. Again, they should form 5% of our diet including oils and fats such as olive oil to 2% in our diet.

The Role of Vitamins, Proteins and Fats in our Diet:

Vitamins play an important role in carrying out the metabolic processes of our body such as growth, vitality, digestion; elimination as well provides immunity to the body. Shortages of vitamins in our diet lead to health problems and therefore we should always ensure that we receive Vitamins in enough amounts.

Proteins are the building blocks of our body and perform the roles of repairing the tissues and help the body to preserve its mechanism. Proteins also help us have a stronger immune system.

Fats are essentially considered to the cause of weight gain and many health related problems. This is true only if you are consuming saturated fats in high amounts. Consumption of unsaturated fatty acids such as those present in Olive oil, in moderate quantities helps in burning the fats stored in our body.

The Role of Kitchen Spices:

We use various kinds of spices for flavor and for aroma in our foods. Most of these spices play a vital part in our diet because of their medicinal properties. Most of them serve as carminatives, stimulants and helps in digestion. Nervousness, spasms and coldness are some symptoms which can be cured by using some of the home spices when it is in its acute stages. They serve as a best alternative to replace those medicinal drugs in our medicinal chest. Problems like headache, heart attacks, bleeding and diarrhea are some which can be treated by these spices. So, kitchen spices in several ways are an asset in curing many common ailments in its acute stages.

Herbs that Help Your Digestion System:

Among kitchen herbs- Basil, Bay leaf, Caraway seeds, cardamom seeds, Cayenne, cloves, cumin seeds, ginger and rosemary are known to help our digestion system.

Western herbs include Alfalfa, Angelica, Aniseed, Asaphoetida, blessed thistle, calamus, chamomile, Elecampane, Indian mulberry (Noni), Papaya, spearmint, thyme and turmeric.

Chinese herbs like Citrus peel and Jujube date are also well-known for their therapeutic effects for the digestive system.

Application of Herbs:

Kitchen herbs can be used in foods in moderate quantities while cooking. Chinese herbs are well-known for their miraculous effect when mixed with herbal preparations. Western herbs such as Alfalfa, angelica, spearmint, thyme and turmeric can be used as Infusions where the herbs are seeped in a tightly covered container with water that had been brought to a boil. Aniseed, Asaphoetida, Calamus, Elecampane can also be used this way. Herbs such as blesses thistle and turmeric can be used as decoction in which herbs are simmered for an hour. Calamus and papaya can be used as tinctures where the powdered or the cut form of herbs are immersed in a pint of alcohol and are shaken daily for two weeks till it is extracted. When the herbs are settled, the mixture is poured through a fine cloth or filter. Indian mulberry, also known as Noni, is taken in an encapsulated form.

“Prevention is Better than Cure!!”

The problem of indigestion can be avoided for most of the time. Antacids are not always a good idea.

Here are a few tips that will help you keep away from indigestion:

  1. Avoid alcohol
  2. Replace chocolate and snacks with fruits
  3. Walk for 30 minutes after meals
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Wear loose fitting clothes
  6. Chew gun after you eat food as it produces saliva which helps neutralizing the stomach acid.
  7. Avoid all those foods which you know can result in this problem.

And Lastly, Avoid aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs as much as possible . A personal advice from me.

When I had indigestion problems, I drank loads of water, relaxed and walked for at least 15 minutes. There was a time when I used to be on antacids but slowly I began to realize that the more I depended on it, the less effective it was. I decided to avoid it all together as it was becoming a major problem for the acids in my stomach as it was altering its PH.

The best thing to do every time is to understand your body language. It takes time but later, you will be glad that you know your body so well.

“A sound mind in a sound body is the most useful instrument wherewith to serve God…” Saint Ignatius of Loyola

*** As with all health problems, if symptoms persist see a doctor**

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Fatmah Azam Ali is a writer and a certified health specialist. She has written hundreds of articles on health issues for print and online publications worldwide. Currently, she offers free health consultation via e-mail. The consultation offered is on an educational basis and not prescription basis. E-mail her at naturedoctorfatmah@excite.com for a free advice! Her upcoming book on healthy living releases in September. If you would like to know more about her and her upcoming “Heal Today” e-zine, please log on to http://www.healtoday.biz


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