Symptoms of indigestion
Gas, a bloated feeling, rumbling noises, belching, possibly a burning feeling, and vomiting
Causes of indigestion
The main causes are dietary habits and stress. Lack of hydrochloric acid (HCl) and enzymes are other major causes. Lack of enzymes keeps vitamins and minerals from being used properly. Inadequate HCl means the protein food will not be digested correctly.
Other contributing factors include peptic ulcers. Intestinal obstruction can also lead to indigestion. If the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder are not functioning properly, it is more difficult for the body to digest food. A key factor can be hydrochloric acid production.
If food does not digest properly, it tends to ferment in the intestines. This produces hydrogen and carbon dioxide gas, which causes bloating and pain.
Home Remedies to improve digestion
- Do not eat when you are in a hurry or under stress. You should be able to relax when you eat. Do not eat when you are upset or excessively tired. Do not drink liquids with your meal, for this dilutes your stomach juices. Take time to chew your food thoroughly.
- Eat more live (raw) foods rather than primarily heavily cooked items. Fresh, raw foods are rich in enzymes that help digest and assimilate the nutrients. But those enzymes are destroyed when heated to more than 120o F. All processed foods have been heated above 120o F.
- Cut down on the meat or eliminate it entirely. It is very hard to digest, and frequently carries bacteria and parasites.
- Be sure and include enough fiber in your meal. Otherwise, you are more likely to have constipation, with the consequent absorption of toxins back into the system.
- Include trace minerals in the diet (in Norway kelp and Nova Scotia dulse), and obtain adequate vitamin and mineral supplementation. If you are having a difficult time absorbing your food, you need to maintain good supplementation all the more. Swallowing air (by chewing with the mouth open or talking while chewing) can cause indigestion.
- First thing in the morning, juice a lemon and drink it in a cup of water. This will help prepare your stomach for its daily duties.
- Ginger is good, to lessen digestive nausea.
- Catnip, chamomile, fennel, and peppermint are all helpful in reducing indigestion. Mint tea calms the stomach.
- Papain, papaya (containing the digestive enzyme papain), and fresh pineapple (containing another digestive enzyme, bromelain) are also very helpful.
- Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are needed.
- English bitters are very helpful. Take them before each meal.
- Helpful herbs include balm, bitter orange, celandine, hops, fennel, and yarrow.
- Alcohol; vinegar; caffeine; and spicy, refined, or greasy foods promote indigestion.
- Food allergies, such as lactose intolerance, can cause it also, so locate them. Avoid foods which tend to bother you. Take the pulse test in order to determine yours.
- Do not eat too heavily of legumes, especially lentils, peanuts, and soybeans. They contain a substance which slows down certain digestive enzymes.
- Avoid these food combinations: milk and sugar, fruits and vegetables, sugar and protein.
- Take an out-of-door walk after breakfast. If you can, do it where the air is fresh, not by a highway.
- Keep in mind Kouzmanoff's discovery. This Russian scientist experimented with cooked food and found that, when it was eaten, the white blood cells increased rapidly in the small intestine. As part of our immune system, they increase to fight hostile invaders. In other words, when your white blood cell count goes up, a threatened infection or disease is being prepared for.
- Eating raw foods protects the immune system, and does not cause an increase in white blood cell count.
- Bircher-Benner, of Switzerland, discovered that eating raw food at a meal before cooked food prevented the formation of white cells in the intestines. Therefore, he always served raw salads before cooked foods.
- —Now, for the other side of the coin:
- There is a theory which some accept and others reject. Consider this:
- A major cause of indigestion is eating salads and other light food at the beginning of the meal, and waiting till partway through the meal to eat the protein foods. But protein foods need lots of HCl for proper digestion; the other foods do not. So begin your meal with your protein foods. You can eat salads with your protein food, but not before it.
- Which theory is correct? The truth may be in the middle: Those who have an abundance of HCl tend to do better eating some protein at the beginning of the meal, and those who do not have as much do better eating the raw foods, to begin with.