Indigestion. If you've ever had the symptoms of indigestion, you know how uncomfortable they can be and how much you'd like to never have it again.
Whether you've had belching, abdominal pain, nausea, an acidic taste in your mouth, or more, you for sure want to feel better and get relief.
Today I am sharing with you some great ways to prevent indigestion, and also some natural indigestion remedies, but first let's talk about indigestion a little in order to better understand what we are dealing with.
You've had it before. It's annoying, but it is really more than that.
- abdominal pain
- intestinal gas
- acidic taste in mouth
- gurgling or rumbling
- constipation or diarrhea
- and more
It's a pretty typical ailment to have, but is it just a pain in the tummy?
Well, the word itself indicates that it's more than just an annoyance. Let's take it apart. "In - digestion". The prefix, "in" is from Latin and expresses negation. "digestion" comes from the Latin "digestio" which of course refers to digestion.
So if you have indigestion, you are not digesting your food properly--which is a problem.
Why? Well, your health begins in the gut. I've written about gut health numerous times, from this post Busting a Gut Health Myth, Surprising Tips to Gut Health -- the Gut Brain Axis, 5 Causes of Gut Dysbiosis, and more.
Truthfully, your gut is where so much of your health begins--and if your digestion is off, then so will your health be.
That's why although indigestion appears to be something inconsequential--it really isn't. If you aren't digesting your food, then you aren't having optimal health.
It's as simple as that.
So for better health for you and yours, here are some ways to prevent indigestion, and natural indigestion remedies.
Ways To Treat Indigestion
1. Chew, chew, chew.
Your grandmother said it, and she was right. You need to chew your food. A lot.
Digestion starts in your mouth. Your teeth act on the food and the saliva has enzymes in it that start breaking down the food so your body can use it better.
If you don't chew your food, you make the rest of your digestive system work harder, which can aggravate and/or cause digestive problems.
How much should you chew? Well, I've typically heard that you should aim for 20 chews per bite of food. I know--that's a lot. But at least aim for more than you are chewing now. One of my blogger friends, Lydia, says she tries to make a game of it with her kids. Good idea!
2. Eat Earlier
Do you have trouble with munchies in at night? Nighttime is when many of us feel the need to have "a little something" (or more than that), but really it's not a great time to eat.
It is really best to finish a large evening meal at least 3 hours prior to your bedtime. Then you give your body time to digest your food and you will be less likely to suffer from digestive upset, some of which might be so bad that you might even have a bad night of sleep as a result. And with sleep being crucial to good health, that's something you for sure don't want to skimp on.
Another natural indigestion remedy is probiotics.
A healthy gut digests food better. It's that simple.
The word "Probiotic" means "for life." Probiotics are good bacteria that you take internally to improve your gut health.
Over the years, I have tried many brands of probiotics with varying results. Here are my thoughts on several probiotics and their effectiveness (or lack thereof)
Low histamine probiotics are helpful way to go if histamine is a problem for you.
4. Digestive Enzymes
You need enzymes to break down your foods, but many of us are deficient in them and could use a little help. Digestive enzymes help break down foods into more manageable forms for your body to digest. I've been using them for a long time and have found them to be a great help in improving my digestion.
If you take digestive enzymes with meals, you should be able to avoid some of the effects of overeating.
5. Essential Oils
Essential oils are good for many things, but they also can be useful for addressing digestive issues. Some oils most commonly used for digestive issues are:
When you have stomach problems, try rubbing a blend of all of these oils, together with a carrier oil, on your abdomen. Please take care to purchase high quality essential oils regardless of whether you are going to be using them topically, diffusing, or whatever means you plan to use them.
If you are interested in reading about my family's search for a reasonably priced, quality essential oil company, here is the beginning of the "best" essential oils series, or you can skip to the end here.
6. Betaine HCl
So many people are concerned with having too much stomach acid, but in reality, many people indeed have too little Betaine HCl. Supplementing with Betaine HCl can help fix this and can also help with overall digestion.
I was once told by my physician that I needed an acid reducing med, but it turned out that the opposite was true. You can read about that and how the Betaine HCl benefitted my skin health here.
Instead of giving in to the munchies, try a cuppa. But not coffee, try some tea instead.
Sipping a cup of chamomile or ginger tea either with or after your meal can also help with digestive upset. Add some homemade coconut milk and a little stevia to it for a delicious sweet treat.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Try adding 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and sip throughout your meal to help boost digestion. Make sure to get a vinegar with the mother in it and not the inexpensive grocery store versions.
9. Herbs & Spices
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has been known to increase appetite and ease indigestion.
To reduce indigestion, flatulence, or bloating, you might try some of the following:
Lemon Balm Capsules: 300 – 500 mg dried lemon balm 3 times daily or as needed.
Lemon Balm Tea: 1.5 – 4.5 grams (1/4 – 1 teaspoonful) of dried lemon balm herb in hot water. Steep and drink up to 4 times daily.
Lemon Balm Tincture: 2 – 3 mL (40 – 90 drops) 3 times daily
Turmeric is the spice in curry powder that makes it yellow. But in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to aid digestion and has also traditionally been used for heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, and stomach bloating.
One study showed that 87% percent of the curcumin group experienced full or partial symptom relief from dyspepsia as compared to 53% of the placebo group.
Slippery elm has been used as an herbal remedy for many many years and with great results for many gut situations.
It thickens up quite a bit in water--you can thin it out or consume it like a porridge basically.
I personally have seen testimonials of people taking this 4 times a day to start and then going down to 1-2 times a day and seeing phenomenal results.
Here are other buying options on Iherb if you wish to choose a different option than Amazon.
Chewing on organic fennel seeds or organic caraway seeds after your meal can really help with stomach troubles. For years my husband would have a small container of fennel seeds on the table to help his tummy stay healthy. You've probably seen fennel seeds in small bowls on the table in Indian restaurants for this reason.
The seeds contain oils that soothe spasms in the gut, relieve nausea, and also help control flatulence.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL is sold in health-food stores, and it has been known to soothe stomach upset and indigestion by coating the lining of the stomach.
12. Fix Your Food
Even the way that you prepare your foods can help make them more digestible.
Following are 3 ways that you can make every day foods easier to digest.
13. Try Something Bitter
Long ago, and in some cultures today, people consumed something bitter prior to eating a meal, possibly due to simply tradition, but also due to it helping with digestion.
There are different mechanisms by which these "bitters" work, but regardless, they do help you digest your food better. (source)
You can either eat some bitter veggies like mustard or arugula, but digestive bitters used before a meal are convenient and won't spoil and turn into unidentifiable gook in your fridge.
On that note, if you do decide to go with the bitter greens, these storage tips are sure to come in handy.
14. Reduce Stress!
I just had to add another tip after publishing the post. When all else fails try to these methods for stress relief.
Stress can cause your esophagus to have spasms, which pushes more acid into your stomach. It also can cause your ileocecal valve to act up. Since the valve controls how food moves through the digestive system, when the valve isn't working properly, it can cause indigestion. (source)
So calm down and enjoy better digestion as a result.
I sure hope that these tips are helpful for improving your health and that of those you love.
Of course, this is not medical advice and you should consult with your physician prior to making any dietary or supplement changes.
Do you have any natural indigestion remedies to share?
Please do tell in the comments.