Poor digestion or dyspepsia is more common than many people think, in addition a person may also have digestion problems without knowing it.
Causes of indigestion
A diet low in fiber . Fiber is a non-nutritive food component, but it serves to:
1. Soften the fecal mass
2. Increase the speed of transit of the digested food through the intestine.
Lack of fiber causes a delay in the passage of food through the digestive tract ( constipation ).
If the movement of food in the intestine is slow, there is a greater risk of absorption of some food toxins into the bloodstream.
Do not eat raw food – Enzymes help digest food and are present only in raw foods (in addition to supplements). Cooking at high temperatures (over 116 degrees) destroys the enzymes.
In some cases, a person may not eat some raw foods because of:
- Dental problems,
- Difficulty digesting certain foods.
In these cases, it is recommended:
- Steam cooking
- Boil as little time as possible and drink the cooking water. It is advisable to immerse hot food, because in this way coagulation of proteins occurs that reduces the output of the cell juice.
Food allergy , lactose intolerance , celiac disease and fructose intolerance.
Inability to digest certain types of sugars and proteins, such as lactose and gluten causes digestive problems.
Food intolerances are not obvious to most people who consider digestive disorders to be normal.
Junk food – these foods high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates are usually of low nutritional value.
A low level of acid in the stomach . The shortage of gastric juice, especially hydrochloric acid (HCl) caused by medicines or diseases, has the following consequences:
- It allows bacteria to invade the body,
- Proteins do not decompose sufficiently to be digested by digestive enzymes
- It causes a longer food time in the stomach which causes bacterial fermentation.
The lack of digestive enzymes . When the concentration of the main component of gastric juice (HCl) is low, the signals to produce the correct amount of enzymes in the pancreas to digest the food are not sent.
The pancreas produces enzymes for the decomposition of all types of food.
Lack of digestive enzymes can cause symptoms of malabsorption.
Combination of unsuitable food . Eating many different types of foods in the same meal causes a heavy overload to the digestive system.
For example, the fruit is not digested in the mouth or stomach but passes quickly into the intestine where it is quickly assimilated.
When you eat a fruit at the end of the meal, it remains a long time in the digestive system, the result is fermentation.
So there are two solutions:
1) Eat fruit-based meals, especially breakfast is the best time.
2) Eat after digesting other foods when the stomach is empty, in case of meals with protein should wait at least 4 hours.
Avoid eating a meal with fruits + carbohydrates / starches or protein.
Avoid combinations of:
- Acidic foods + starches because the acidic foods eliminate Ptyalin or Salivary Amylase (enzyme that breaks down the starch)
- Foods rich in proteins + starches (bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.) because the stomach produces highly acidic gastric juices to digest proteins, but mildly acidic to starches. The consequence is that the digestion of the starches must wait for the digestion of the proteins.
- Acidic foods + proteins because acidic foods inhibit the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This substance is required by the enzyme pepsin to digest proteins. The acid + nut or cheese combination is correct because these foods contain a lot of fat, so do not cause intestinal putrefaction, even though digestion is slower.
- Fatty foods + proteins since fats reduce the secretion of gastric juices necessary for the digestion of proteins.
The imbalance of the intestinal flora . Without the right amount of “good” bacteria in the body, food fermentation takes place in the gut and bad bacteria feed.
Constipation is a serious sign of imbalance of the intestinal flora because the body can not get rid of the waste and therefore the toxins enter the bloodstream.
Pregnancy . During pregnancythe muscles and ligaments become more elastic, including the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.
The consequence is that the intestine has difficulty moving the digested food.
In addition, the baby presses against the stomach, causing a reduction of free space for food.
Physical and mental stress are among the leading causes of indigestion.
All unconscious activities of the human body (eg digestion) are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
During a stressful situation, with a survival mechanism, the body diverts energy, blood, oxygen, etc. of the organs of the digestive system and concentrates energy in other areas of the body (muscles, brain, etc.).
The consequence is that anxiety and stress can have an important effect on digestion.
- Do training on a full stomach
- Overeating and quickly
- Processed foods like those from fast food
- Drink lots while eating
- Swallowing excess air (aerophagia)
- Caffeine-Drink lots of coffee or tea
- Excessive fatty or spicy foods, depending on the type
- Smoke .
- Pancreatitis ( inflammation of the pancreas)
- Intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or gastritis
- Stomach disorders such as peptic ulcer or cancer
- Hypothyroidism (causes heartburn in the stomach).
- Gallstones or cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder).
All medications and chemicals are toxins to the digestive system, in particular:
- Aspirin and other analgesics
- Some antibiotics can kill a high percentage of “good” bacteria needed for digestion.
The most common symptoms are:
Food can pass very slowly along the intestine, causing a slowing of digestion.
Among the causes are:
The delay in emptying the stomach or gastroparesis can cause symptoms similar to vomiting .
Unlike vomiting caused by a virus, if this symptom is related to poor digestion it also causes a feeling of fullness immediately after eating.
Malabsorption of nutrients triggered by a food intolerance or a nutritional disorder may cause
- Diarrhea ,
- Abnormal stools.
Undigested sugars can cause pungent, pungent-smelling diarrhea, while poorly digested fats can cause fetid, floating stools.
People who are lactose intolerant may have:
Many times, constipation indicates dietary imbalance or a fiber deficiency.
This symptom occurs when the colon absorbs a lot of water during digestion.
The consequence is the formation of hard stools that are difficult to expel.
The weight loss unintentional, especially when you follow a healthy diet, can cause digestive problems.
For example, babies with lactose intolerance do not gain weight at a normal rate if the diet contains milk.
In other situations, chronic diarrhea and / or reduced absorption of nutrients can cause weight loss.
Losing weight along with diarrhea and other symptoms such as mental confusion can be caused by lack of nutrients like niacin or vitamin B3.
- Intestinal gases
- Swollen belly after eating
- Arrastus (eructation)
- In the case of gastro-oesophageal reflux it is possible to observe: halitosis or bad mouth breath and tachycardia
- Noise similar to bubbly after eating
- Pain in neck , shoulder and spine
- Fatigue and drowsiness after a meal
- Abdominal distension
- Constant hunger
- Intestinal irregularity
- Food particles not digested in feces.
Chew a lot
Just make small bites.
Lower the fork between bites.
Chew each bite of food until it becomes completely melted because the digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth.
Amylase is a digestive enzyme present in saliva that serves to digest carbohydrates.
Savor every spoonful enjoying the flavors and smells of the food.
Buy fresh flowers to put them on the dining table.
Use smaller cutlery to eat less with each bite.
Create a beautiful environment, reduce lights, listen to music and light candles.
Drinking little water is one of the main causes of constipation.
- Causes an imbalance in bacteria,
- Promotes inflammation of the intestinal mucosa,
- It can lead to the absorption of larger molecules, a disease known as intestinal permeability syndrome.
Eat More Fiber
Some good sources of fiber are:
- Dried fruits such as dates, figs and plums
- Beans and vegetables, while lentils and peas are less nutritious.
- Flax seeds have a mild laxative effect. It may be helpful for chronic constipation and for damage to the bowel wall caused by inflammatory bowel disease.
Put the flax seed in the rice, cereal, salad or any other food of your choice.
Avoiding food if you have intolerance
Food intolerances are among the most frequent digestive problems.
For example, between 30% and 60% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have one or more food intolerance, with consequent:
The most common culprits are:
- Milk and dairy products (40-44%)
- Cereals (grains) with gluten (40-60%).
A nutritionist can create a diet of exclusion.
You should try to remove many foods from the diet for a short period of time and then reintroduce them in sequence to isolate the body’s reaction to food.
Bacteria Not all bacteria are bad.
There are over 400 different types of bacteria and yeast in the digestive system.
Of these, acidophilic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are considered to be good probiotic bacteria because they may help maintain intestinal health.
Acidophilic and Other Probiotics
Although good bacteria can be found in some yogurts, there is great variation in quantity and quality.
Doctors recommend good quality organic yogurt in which active cultures are added after pasteurizing because this process would destroy the good and bad bacteria.
Supplements containing both acidophilic and bifidobacteria are found in specialty food stores.
Probiotics are particularly useful for the following diseases:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gases, bloating, flatulence
- Recurrent vaginal yeast infections
- Bad breath.
It is not recommended to eat yogurt and supplements based on:
- Shelton’s hygiene , according to which we must avoid animal proteins because the digestion is very long, whereas fruits and vegetables are digested quickly.
- The theory of the diet without mucus consisting of a vegan / raw food.
- The blood type diet.
Stomach acid – resistant peppermint oil can reduce
- Stomach ache,
Digestive Enzymes – According to conventional medicine, enzyme supplements promote digestion and help against other problems caused by poor digestion.
Many people who had low levels of magnesium in the blood have improved digestion when they started eating foods that contain this mineral salt.
It is not necessary to render the contents of the stomach more alkaline, so avoid antacids.
Medications with antacids contain indigestible aluminum and calcium, are toxic and harmful, and are not beneficial.
Antacids inhibit acid production and give relief only in the short term.
In the long run they do not solve the problem, on the contrary they make it worse.
Alkaline water causes
- Acid reflux,
- Lazy intestine (slow digestion).
Bicarbonate and Maalox
Bicarbonate and Maalox Plus only serve in case of heartburn because they reduce the pH.
If the cause of poor digestion is in the gut, they are not needed, on the contrary they may even make the situation worse because they impede the activity of the stomach.
Avoid taking baking soda or Maalox after a heavy meal because:
- May slow digestion
- Baking soda gives a temporary relief, but then worsens the symptoms. The problem is that bicarbonate slows digestion because on contact with hydrochloric acid in the stomach produces carbon dioxide that expands the organ and stimulates the production of a greater amount of acid.