By Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
It's not fun to talk about it, but we've all experienced it before--enjoying a nice meal only to regret it later when our stomachs hurt due to indigestion. Some of the symptoms of indigestion include: bloating, belching, gas, burning or pain in the stomach or abdomen, and even nausea. None of these are pleasant, but the good news is...
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...that they often can be prevented by taking some simple steps toward better digestion. Here are the top 7 things you can do:
1. Eat foods containing probiotics, which are good bacteria that can be found in some foods as well as in your digestive tract, where they promote digestive health. Look for yogurts, such as Activa, that are labeled as containing live active cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Other foods that contain probiotics include kefir, buttermilk, and probiotic drinks, such as GoodBelly, which is a line of non-dairy, non-soy and vegan probiotic juice drinks. I recently tried a sample of the GoodBelly Probiotic Coconut Water and loved the flavor.
2. Do not lie down right after eating. Our bodies are made to digest food in an upright position and lying down while your body is trying to digest food can lead to indigestion. Wait 2-3 hours after a meal before going to bed.
3. Eat slowly. When you eat too quickly, you actually swallow a good deal of air, which can upset the digestive process.
4. Make sure you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet, but don't go from eating very little fiber to lots of fiber overnight as that can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Instead, add more high-fiber foods into your diet slowly and drink plenty of water with them.
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5. Keep a food journal to identify foods that trigger indigestion for you personally. Often foods or beverages that are high in acid, caffeine, or alcohol or that are spicy are trigger foods.
6. Don't wear tight-fitting clothes or belts while eating as this can compress the stomach and make heartburn more likely.
7. Try chewing gum after your meals. It will help to stimulate the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize stomach acid and decreases the likelihood of experiencing indigestion.
If you make these changes, but are still experiencing the symptoms of indigestion, make sure to see your doctor. This could be a sign that the indigestion is a symptom of another problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, or gallbladder disease.