What is Indigestion?
Indigestion is more commonly known as upset stomach. It may also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. It is important to pay attention to your body’s cues and call the doctor if you experience symptoms such as:
- Dark stool (unless you’ve recently taken Pepto Bismol, as this is a harmless side effect)
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in stool
Following a balanced diet and being sure to eat slowly are good ways to combat indigestion. If you find yourself experiencing it regularly but do not seem to have any underlying issues, try eating smaller, more frequent meals so the stomach does not have to work as hard.
Foods That Cause Indigestion
Many different foods that cause indigestion are found in our daily diets. The best thing to do is to either cut down the amount and frequency of these types of foods in your diet, or to avoid them all together. If you are experiencing symptoms, do not indulge in any of these foods or beverages until they have subsided.
- Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol is an extreme irritant to the gastrointestinal system. In addition to an upset stomach, it may also cause diarrhea, and make the dehydration the body suffers even worse.
- Caffeine: Caffeine acts as a stimulant for the body, and it will of course stimulate the gastrointestinal system as well, leading to stomach upset, and possible more intense and frequent bowel movements. It also acts as a diuretic, which means it will pull water from the body. If you experience diarrhea, avoid caffeine because it can make dehydration worse.
- Fats: Eating too much fat makes it hard for the body to process it all. You may find yourself in pain and in the bathroom more often after a fatty meal. The increased fat in your diet may cause a condition known as “steatorrhea.” This condition is sometimes painful and causes more frequent and foul smelling bowl movements.
- Carbonated Drinks: The bubbles from these drinks that do not get digested will create a gas bubble, which is generally painful until the gas is released from the body.
- Red Meat: While it is recommended to have red meat in your diet in moderation because of the source of protein and other vital nutrients, it is not easy for the stomach to digest. To avoid indigestion issues, seek protein from white and other sources of lean meat, such as fish.
If you are lactose intolerant, dairy products could worsen the problem. Dairy products are good to keep in your diet when possible, because they are a good source of calcium and other nutrients. If you suspect lactose intolerance, speak to a medical professional about the possibility of taking enzymes to help your body digest the lactose.
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