There are many things you can do to help prevent indigestion and improve your overall digestive health. Here are five of them:
1. Eat Lots of Fiber
Fiber is not only key to keeping indigestion at bay, but it is essential for your overall health. In addition to helping digestion, it can also help decrease cholesterol, improve constipation, prevent hemorrhoidal irritation, and keep the bowel habits regular.
Increasing your daily fiber intake is usually synonymous with eating healthier, but making the transition does not have to be painful. Small changes like eating high-fiber cereal for breakfast and replacing white bread with whole-wheat bread is a great start.
2. Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Digestive enzymes can help promote good digestion and even enhance nutrient absorption. They may not be essential for everyone, but speak with your physician to see if you are a good candidate. They can reduce the symptoms of indigestion and upset stomach in selected individuals.
3. Chew Your Food
Chewing is something we do without thinking about it, but it is actually one of the most important parts of digestion. Chewing not only helps break down food, it also signals the salivary glands, stomach and the small intestine to start releasing digestive enzymes.
4. Don’t Overuse Antacids
Acids in the stomach help the body digest food. But in some cases, these acids can come back up (reflux) into the esophagus, causing that burning sensation of indigestion many people are so familiar with. When this happens, the standard response seems to be to reach for antacids. While it does neutralize stomach acids, overuse may leave the stomach vulnerable to bacterial infections. Use it in moderation.
5. Exercise More & Stress Less
According to a recent study, there is a link between obesity, lack of exercise, stomach pain, diarrhea, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The same study showed that daily physical activity can actually help reduce many digestive problems and aid with digestion.
Stress, on the other hand, can have a negative effect on your digestion. This is because the “fight or flight” response that results from stress reduces blood flow to the abdomen and the production of digestive enzymes. This slows the digestive process, which results in heartburn, and constipation.
In addition to eating healthy food and chewing it well, strongly consider finding a good balance that works in the long run, with a focus on physical activity and eliminating stress.
If you have frequent episodes of indigestion, please schedule a consultation with one of our Beverly Hills gastroenterologists by calling 855.360.9119.