Causes of Digestive Disorders
Often the cause of digestive difficulties (for example, the appearance of heartburn, bloating and belching) are not chronic stomach diseases, but banal errors in the daily diet. A person tries to follow a “healthy” diet without noticing that he is allergic to gluten or other typical allergens.
Unfortunately, ignoring such problems can easily lead to the development of serious chronic diseases. That is why it is important not just to take medications to improve digestion, but first to find out if you are harming the health of your stomach when you follow a diet for weight loss or when you use another “fashionable” supplement.
Heartburn: foods to discard
First of all, it is necessary to recall that any carbonated drinks, citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines and others), tomatoes, strong tea and coffee are a typical cause of increased acidity of the stomach (1) . Acidity is especially strong when eating the above products on an empty stomach or at bedtime.
Remember that a chronically high level of acid in the stomach provokes and exacerbates diseases such as peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux. In other words, if you regularly experience heartburn, do not drown it out with medication, but first try to understand if this heartburn is caused by the strong tea that you drank on an empty stomach in the morning.
Aspirin, familiar to everyone, is one of the drugs that extremely negatively affects digestion and disrupts the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, aspirin corrodes the mucous membrane of the stomach, first provoking the appearance of heartburn, then gastritis, internal bleeding of the digestive tract or even the development of ulcers. Alcohol has a similar effect.
At the same time, the combined use of aspirin with sports nutrition or dietary supplements in capsules usually dramatically exacerbates problems with acidity of the stomach. When trying to normalize your digestion, carefully study the information about the medicines (even over-the-counter) that you are taking - there is a great chance that they are the cause of the unpleasant sensations.
Digestive problems and overeating
The volume of an empty stomach is only 45-75 milliliters, however, after eating, a person’s stomach is able to increase to 1-2 liters. It must be understood that the more food (and fluid) you take, the more difficult the digestion process is. If you feel heavy after eating, think about whether you overeat.
The simplest method for assessing the optimal amount of food to normalize digestion is to compare portions (including water and other liquids) with a liter jar. Despite the fact that no scientific recommendations on this subject exist (a healthy stomach is extremely difficult to overload food), in case of digestive disorders it is extremely important to monitor the amount of food eaten.
Vinegar to improve stomach function
A number of scientific studies show that wine vinegar is able to improve digestion and alleviate the symptoms of certain diseases of the stomach (primarily belching and reflux). The reason is that, being a weak acid, in terms of pH, vinegar is almost the same as the acidity of healthy gastric juice (3) .
One or two tablespoons of real wine vinegar in half a glass of water before each meal will help to naturally normalize the acidity of the stomach and facilitate the digestion of food, thereby improving the absorption of important vitamins and amino acids. However, we note that this method of normalizing digestion has a number of contraindications.
The most important and effective over-the-counter supplement for normalizing digestion is magnesium. Recall that magnesium is critical for the body to function - a deficiency of this microelement violates more than 300 metabolic processes. Typical symptoms of magnesium deficiency are muscle pain and various digestive difficulties.
The daily requirement of an adult for magnesium is about 300-400 mg, but sports and dieting can increase this number to 700 mg (4) . Daily intake of magnesium supplements in an amount of 500 mg at night is one of the easiest and safest ways to normalize digestion and get rid of the feeling of heaviness in the stomach.
The effect of fiber on the stomach
Fiber and dietary fiber, without a doubt, are one of the most important components of the diet to normalize digestion. It is these indigestible substances that provide both the normal passage of food through the esophagus and form a regular and high-quality stool. Fiber deficiency, in turn, has an extremely negative effect on health.
Statistics show that most people consume less than half of the required fiber level - the result is both chronic constipation and a slowdown in metabolism and the development of obesity. To normalize digestion, it is extremely important to consume at least 30-35 g of fiber per day (5) . However, the source of fiber should not be pharmaceutical pills, but ordinary products.
The solution to most digestive problems begins with a diet that normalizes the acidity of the stomach and rejects foods that are aggressive to the digestive tract (carbonated drinks, coffee, alcohol, and aspirin). The next step is daily monitoring of the amount of magnesium and fiber in the diet, and not taking medications for heartburn.
- Steps to Boost Digestive Health, source
- Aspirin Side Effects, source
- Vinegar and Acid Reflux, source
- 7 Ways to Improve Digestion, source
- Fiber: How Much Do You Need ?, source