Common Sense Approach to Digestive Problems
Get off junk foods, sugar and devitalized foods. Choose healthful, whole foods.
Avoid foods that you are allergic to or the foods that disagree with you in any way.
Eat when hungry.
Relax when eating.
Chew foods well. Eat slowly and take small bites. Chew the food till it is near liquid. Remember: “Drink your solids and chew your liquids”.
A short walk after meals helps in acid production.
Avoid overeating and eat at appropriate times. Overeating is a common cause of poor digestion. Do not eat in-between meals. Continual snacking between meals and late-night meals may also cause system burnout. Yet, some individuals find that full meals make their digestive tract work too hard. Grazing – having five to six small, frequent meals throughout the day – is often an effective solution.
Do not eat anything after supper till the morning. This fast at night allows digestive tract to recover. Now, when you will have a breakfast, it will be real breaking of the fast. Allow 12-13 hours of rest between supper and breakfast.
Find relative ratio of raw to cooked foods that is right for you. Raw food has enzymes that help in digestion. Some individuals have trouble digesting raw food. Experiment to find out what ratio of raw to cooked foods you tolerate well.
Ensure adequate intake of protein, zinc, manganese, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
Drink modest amount of water with meals (Not iced or very hot. This inhibits pancreatic function.). A small glass of water or a cup of herbal tea is fine.
Drink water up to 30-45 minutes or more before or at least 2-3 hours after main meals.
Avoid constipation. You should preferably have 2-3 bowel movements a day – or at least one good bowel movement a day. The stool should be soft, effortless, and odorless and you should sense a feeling of complete evacuation after the bowel movement. If you are constipated, ask us for advice.
Hypochlorhydria: Low acid production is an important cause for indigestion, especially after age 50.
Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach may suppress acid production in stomach. A simple blood test may show the infection.
Yet other causes for low acid production include weakened adrenal function and hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Checking for these deficiencies may be important in improving acid production.
Stress may also reduce acid production and secretory IgA in stool. A stool sample can determine and assess intestinal secretory IgA levels.
Finding and treating giardiasis (a parasitic bowel infection), and other parasitic infections, intestinal yeast overgrowth, the “leaky gut” syndrome, and food allergies – all common causes of intestinal inflammation – are paramount in returning normal digestive function. Simple stool and urine tests can help in diagnosing bowel infection and leaky gut respectively.
Pancreatic enzyme deficiency is a very common cause of indigestion.
Bile deficiency is another important cause for indigestion, but it cannot readily be measured. However, some indirect signs may be intolerance to fatty foods, biliousness, constipation, light colored stools, and bad breath.
Drink peppermint, spearmint, papaya-mint, or bancha (kukicha or twig) tea.
Cooking with ginger can also aid in digestion, as can using aloe vera, ½ ounce of juice or ½ Tablespoonful of the gel. Slippery elm tea and aloe vera juice can work effectively to soothe irritation, inflammation, heartburn, indigestion and even ulcers.