Eating fulfills different needs; we eat food to survive, to energise ourselves, and for enjoyment, too. Good digestive health allows the proper breakdown of food to absorb nutrients. But in some cases, eating-related digestive problems can get in the way of this. Indigestion is a commonly reported health problem among adults regardless of age, and its severity can range from being a mild inconvenience around mealtime to becoming a major health block. Fortunately, there are practical and doable things you can start doing today to get rid of indigestion, beginning with eating more food that improves your general digestion.
Below, we answer common questions about how to get rid of indigestion the safe and natural way.
What is indigestion?
Indigestion is also called dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is an umbrella term used for feelings of pain or discomfort in the middle or upper parts of your abdomen. This sensation can be accompanied by other symptoms like a burning sensation in your stomach, chest or throat, burping, or bloating (2). Although dyspepsia can be caused by different things, it’s frequently a sign of your gastrointestinal tract being unable to process the food that you eat. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is another common yet chronic disorder that includes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation. (14) Our bodies house a variety of organisms that form a microbiota created to aid digestion (14). Different kinds of bacteria in your gut, help digest food and play an important role in your well being (10). Trillions of beneficial bacteria called ‘gut flora’, housed in the digestive ecosystem, work overtime to produce vitamin K and B12, breakdown poisons and stem the growth of bad bacteria. Studies show that intake of Omega 3 fatty acids preserves bacterial gut diversity and promotes health (11).
Eating habits for better digestion
There are eating habits you can form to avoid indigestion, or to alleviate existing symptoms.
Tips to aid digestion include eating smaller meals more frequently (as opposed to larger meals eaten two or three times a day) can ease the stress you put on your digestive system when it works to process large volumes of food.
You can also rest after every meal to allow your food to settle into your digestive system. Avoid doing any rigorous exercise, running, or walking for long distances at least three hours after a meal.
It’s also recommended that you don’t eat too late at night, before bedtime. The position you take when you lie down isn’t conducive for efficient digestion as stomach acids, fluids, and enzymes may move upwards in the gastrointestinal tract when they should remain in the stomach (6). Most prevalent digestive conditions have effective corresponding treatments, when diagnosed early by a healthcare professional (9).
Food that improves digestion
Your diet plays a key role in digestive health, especially when it comes to avoiding indigestion. When it comes to learning about good food that improves digestion, the easiest starting point is steering clear from those that are commonly known to cause it.
Here’s a list of items to avoid and include in your daily diet for improved digestion:
Pepper, chilis, even hot condiments are not things you want to eat a lot of or eat at all if you are experiencing indigestion. They are known to aggravate any indigestion issue you may have.
Citrus fruits and food products that contain them or their juices are also known to cause indigestion.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and sodas and any alcoholic drinks are also common triggers of indigestion.
Oily and buttery food
Fried and canned foods are also best avoided as oil or grease can irritate the stomach. You’ll may want to significantly cut back on pastries, too, because butter can have the same effect (7).
Try to limit the amount of fatty or red meat you consume and opt for meats like fish or poultry as food to improve digestion. Fatty, red meats are known to be some of the most difficult foods to digest.
In general, whole, unprocessed foods can help to avoid indigestion. Here are some foods that improve digestion:
Adjust your diet accordingly by increasing your daily intake of whole grains. Shop for products with at least three grams of dietary fibre. Fibre is important for digestion as it helps move food along the digestive tract all the way down to the colon where food waste is excreted. This is a process that needs to run smoothly in order for you to avoid feelings of bloatedness or fullness (1). Sources of fiber and fiber rich foods like most fruit and vegetables are often discussed in the overall maintenance of general well being. A blanket term for carbs that cannot be digested, fiber, is an essential intake that leaves the gut undigested for optimal health benefits. A minimum consumption of 24 grams of Fiber for women and 38 grams for men, is recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (12).
Fruits and vegetables
Try to include five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Plant-based foods are rich in fibre and a high-fibre diet has been linked to improved digestive health (1).
Instead of fatty, red meats, beans might work well for your digestion. A half cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat (1).
Yoghurt as a dairy-free dessert is also a popular option. The probiotics in yoghurt can maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut which is essential in efficient digestion (8).
Finally, you can also explore healthier cooking methods to supplement your intake of food that improves digestion. Instead of frying food, see how you can prepare your meals with grilling, poaching, steaming, or braising ingredients (1).
What other health changes can I make to improve digestion?
While it’s ideal to get all the minerals and vitamins we need from food that we eat, this is not always the case. Mineral and vitamin supplements can work well with a well-rounded diet to achieve sufficient nutrient intake and support our digestive health. Maintaining regular bowel movement by consuming the right foods and fluids, and following proper medical advice are key to preserving intestinal health (13).
Here are some of these mineral and vitamin supplements for digestion:
Zinc plus copper
Zinc is found in foods like oysters, poultry and other animal meats, and practically all whole grains. However, because zinc isn’t produced naturally by the body, you would do well to ensure you eat zinc-dense foods every day. If you aren’t able to get enough zinc from your diet, zinc plus copper supplements might be able to help.
You may have had curcumin if you’ve had a cup of turmeric tea or enjoyed dishes with turmeric as a flavoring or coloring agent. Taken as an active constituent in turmeric or as a supplement, it provides several digestion benefits including maintaining healthy digestion.
Vitable’s Daily Probiotics contain three kinds of premium blend, gut-friendly bacteria that can relieve digestive discomfort and support healthy digestion. This blend was carefully formulated to support bowel regularity and manage digestive symptoms including bloating, gas and flatulence (5). As it also promotes good bacteria growth in the gut, it makes a great partner to other probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, tofu, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
Probiotics SB provides similar digestive health benefits as Vitable’s Daily Probiotics. It is recommended for people who are taking, or have just finished taking antibiotics. Probiotics SB can show marked improvements in maintaining digestive health.
Planning to organise your diet for improved gut health? Daily vitamin packs from Vitable Australia have mineral and vitamin supplements to help promote better gut health, and to avoid conditions like indigestion. The best vitamin subscription is one that lets you choose the nutrients that are right for you to accompany a healthy and well-rounded diet. Have your personalised supplements brought to your doorstep via our vitamin delivery services throughout Australia.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Health Essentials. “How To Improve Your Digestive Track Naturally”. Last reviewed on December 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-improve-your-digestive-track-naturally/. Accessed September 23 2021
- Family Doctor. “Indigestion (Dyspepsia)”. Last reviewed on July 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-improve-your-digestive-track-naturally/. Accessed September 23 2021
- Health Direct. “Foods high in zinc”. Last reviewed on March 2021. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-zinc. Accessed September 23 2021
- Vitable. “Curcumin”. (n.d.). https://research.vitable.com.au/curcumin. Accessed September 23 2021
- Vitable. “Probiotics”. (n.d.). https://research.vitable.com.au/probiotics. Accessed September 23 2021
- Health Direct. “Heartburn.” n.d. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/heartburn Accessed September 24 2021
- Health Direct. “Living with GORD.” n.d. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/living-with-gord Accessed September 24 2021
- CBHS Health. “Reflux – symptoms, causes and foods to avoid.” March 19, 2021. https://www.cbhs.com.au/mind-and-body/blog/reflux-symptoms-causes-and-foods-to-avoid Accessed September 24, 2021
- https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/common-digestive-conditions-from-top-bottom/ Jun 2020
- https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-your-gut-bacteria-say-your-health#:~:text=and%20colon%20cancer.-,What%20Are%20Gut%20Bacteria%3F,the%20microbiota%2C%20or%20the%20microbiome. May 2020
- https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319375#:~:text=A%20new%20study%20published%20in,which%20promothttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1_PkEjLdZ5AU-_l0gcHjwq1EvGawn50hz/edit#es%20better%20overall%20health. Sep 2017
- https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/22-high-fiber-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_10 Oct 2020
- https://www.healthline.com/health/bowel-movement#summary Nov 2021
14 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016#:~:text=Irritable%20bowel%20syndrome%20(IBS)%20is,need%20to%20manage%20long%20term. 1998