Alternative names : Dyspepsia, Biliousness, Acid Indigestion, Uncomfortable fullness after meals
Indigestion, dyspepsia or biliousness are usually brought on by overeating, and cause acute discomfort in the throat, chest and abdomen. Indigestion is just another name for an upset stomach. It may be triggered by eating particular foods or after drinking wine or carbonated drinks. It may also be caused by eating too fast or overeating. Indigestion and heartburn are common problems for both kids and grownups.
What are the causes of indigestion?
There is a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen; that the undigested food is still in the stomach. This is accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, regurgitation of sour fluids from the stomach, flatulence, and excessive salivation. Irregular eating hours, eating too much or too fast after having missed a meal, or just eating for want of anything better to do-the food being rich, spicy, oily, or what is known as ‘junk food’-cause these problems. Some of the common causes of indigestion includes:
- Eating too fast.
- Eating a heavy meal.
- Eating too much spicy foods.
- Irregular meals, because long gaps between meals allow the acid more time to act. Each meal neutralizes the acid for a while.
- Tobacco or smoking.
- Pregnancy, which commonly causes heartburn, indigestion or vomiting.
What are the symptoms of indigestion?
The main symptoms of indigestion are:
- Think you’re losing weight.
- Pain, which may be in the upper part of the abdomen or the chest. This may not always be related to eating.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes).
- Back pain, profuse sweating, anxiety.
Natural home remedies for Indigestion
1. Eat regular well-spaced meals. Eat only when you are hungry, and eat a little less than what you feel like having.
2. Limit your fluid intake when you have solid food. Do not eat fast, but chew your food thoroughly in a relaxed manner. You don’t have a train to catch, and neither is food going out of fashion.
3. Eat plenty of greens and whole grain carbohydrates, restrict the intake of refined carbohydrates like maida and white flour, and also spices and fried food. Eat the right combination of foods.
4. If milk causes indigestion, you may have lactose intolerance. Avoid milk and milk products. If you do not have lactose intolerance or milk allergy, and it is only an infrequent problem, have a tablespoon of lime juice with a little water.
5. Sipping hot water relieves the feeling of fullness and indigestion.
Make a decoction of half a teaspoon each of cloves and black pepper seeds, a tablespoon of cummin seeds, one-fourth of a teaspoon of turmeric, and half a teaspoon of rock salt, coarsely pounded, in a litre of water. Boil it down to half a litre, filter and keep aside to cool. Take two tablespoons of this mixture 3-4 times a day. It can be kept in a refrigerator for 2-3 days, but do not have it cold-have it at room temperature.
7. Pineapple Juice
Half a cup of fresh pineapple or pomegranate juice is a good digestive.
8. Mint Tea
Mint or fennel leaves can be used to make herbal teas or infusions. These are very ‘cooling’ for the stomach
9. Basil Juice
Take a tablespoon of holy basil juice, a teaspoon of dried ginger powder, and twice the amount of jaggery. Mix the three ingredients well and take half a teaspoon twice a day with warm water. This helps digestion and regulates the appetite.
Indigestion Prevention Tips
- Do not eat fruits just before or after a meal.
- Dietary changes, such as reducing intake of fatty foods, tea, coffee and alcohol, and eating small regular meals.
- Stop smoking.
- Give your body a chance to digest food. Don’t eat a huge meal and immediately go to sports practice. Try to eat at least an hour beforehand, or eat afterward.
- Eat slowly.