Published January 03, 2012
Indigestion is a guaranteed way to ruin a good meal. Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, usually results in feeling way too full, and it is often accompanied by chest pain or burning. Indigestion may also lead to nausea and bloating. Luckily, indigestion is not inevitable. The first step to preventing indigestion is to stop eating food that upsets your digestive system. To get along peacefully with your digestive system, follow these straightforward steps.
Eat four or five small meals a day
Your digestive system prefers a marathon over a sprint. Long periods of hunger punctuated by huge meals can place a lot of stress on your stomach and intestines. By eating a limited amount constantly — and slowly — throughout the day, you allow your body more time to process the food. When you eat slowly, your system will feel less overwhelmed, and you can better gauge when you should stop. Your system usually takes some time between first ingesting food and feeling full, so staying slow can keep you from pushing yourself over the limit.
Watch what you eat
For some people, spicy food can cause both indigestion and heartburn. Your digestive system also has a hard time processing fatty foods, and carbonated beverages can aggravate your stomach acid. Caffeine, alcohol and smoking might make you feel good in some ways, but they may also set off indigestion. A healthy diet can also help control your weight, which plays a major role in indigestion. Excess weight places pressure on your abdomen and stomach, pushing acid into your esophagus. This rising acid causes painful acid reflux. To avoid discomfort, try to design a healthy daily diet. A registered dietitian can also help you tailor an eating plan to fit your needs.
Eating in a relaxed environment can help your digestion, and some zen makes your lunch break more pleasant. Even outside of meal times, general stress can aggravate indigestion. You can try yoga, deep breathing or listening to peaceful nature sounds. Every individual has his or her own favorite relaxation technique. The trick is to find the one that works for you. Lower stress will allow your body to feel more wholesome overall, and those good vibes may be just what your digestive system needs.
Talk to your doctor
Some over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers can damage your stomach lining, causing indigestion. Certain antibiotics may also have this effect. Serious underlying health conditions may cause indigestion, such as peptic ulcers, gallstones, pancreas inflammation and stomach cancer. An open discussion with your doctor can discover or rule out any of these additional health problems. A doctor will also help you decide what drugs may be best for you, whether over-the-counter antacids or medications designed to block your acid production. With just a little bit of effort, you and your digestive system can live in perfect harmony.