5 Common Digestive Problems and the Foods that Can Help
It’s still quite a taboo to talk about, but we’ve all been there: heart burn, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. All of these issues are beyond uncomfortable, and almost as uncomfortable to bring up – even with health professionals.
When we start to feel that gurgle in our gut, many of us reach for the bottles of pills or liquids that we hope will cure our woes. The fact is, many of these issues start up in the first place because of food choices we make. So why can’t we solve our problems by turning to food as well?
Since the beginning of the existence of mankind, we have looked to foods, not only to nourish us, but also to alleviate or even cure almost any ailment you can think of. These include digestive problems, which the large majority of people have experienced (if not – tell us what your secret is! You must have a gut of steel).
Do you want to put down the Pepto for good? Try consuming the things mentioned below, depending on the issue you are facing. Remember, however, that everyone is different and the same thing that worked for one person, unlikely works for another. Let us know in the comments whether these food-based remedies helped you!
Heartburn or Acid Reflux
Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart – which is why acid reflux is probably a better description. It can cause a burning sensation in the chest because of irritation in the esophagus caused by stomach acid. Some common triggers include eating too much food, eating on the go (or eating too quickly), fried foods, acidic foods, and spicy foods, among others.
One of the most common foods that help to treat acid reflux is ginger. Rather than buying ginger tea at the store, which often has ginger at low concentrations, you can buy a ginger root and use it in your cooking, boil it together with honey, or add it to a smoothie to ease your heart burn.
Gastritis can present itself as an acute or a chronic illness, and it is usually caused by taking certain drugs or by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. In some cases, it can also be caused or aggravated by chronic stress. If you know or suspect you have gastritis, it is important that you see a physician to get treated.
However, even if you are getting treatment, it is common to feel the pains of gastritis throughout the day, and certain foods may be a big part of that. At the end of this article, I mention some foods you should avoid to avoid digestive issues in general, but there are also some foods that you could be integrating into your diet that could soothe pains and even stop the growth of H. pylori, particularly those that are high in flavonoids:
- Green, aromatic herbs
Sometimes, we just feel plain old pains and discomfort, in our stomach and intestinal area, though we aren’t sure why.
There is a reason why Mom always brought us chicken broth when we had stomach aches. When not cooked in fat, chicken broth is easily digested and moves easily through your system, preventing you from feeling nauseous or having acid reflux. If you have diarrhea as well as a stomach ache, the salt in soup will help you stay hydrated.
Diarrhea can drain up of energy, because not only are we running back and forth to and from the bathroom, but also because diarrhea often dehydrates us. For diarrhea, the BRAT diet seldom fails. The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
Bananas contain potassium which are an electrolyte often lost through bodily fluids. Rice and toast help give us easily absorbable energy while not imposing too much stress on our digestive system.
Having constipation is no fun, but unfortunately it is very common. Everyone goes to the bathroom with differing frequency, meaning it isn’t necessary that you go every day in order to be healthy. If you are going fewer than three times a week on a regular basis, however, there may be a problem.
There are many causes of constipation, but the most common is diet. In order to have regular bowel movements, it is important to get at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. To give you an idea of how much fiber you should be consuming on a regular basis here are some comparisons: one prune has 1 gram of fiber, and one slice of whole grain bread has 3 grams of fiber.
Instead of thinking about fiber powders, you can look to food for your fiber needs. The foods highest in fiber are actually in unexpected places. Raspberries, have a whopping 8 grams of fiber in 1 cup, and a single pear has 5.5 grams of fiber. Make a nice big fruit salad and say goodbye to constipation.
Foods to avoid when you have digestive issues:
In general, there are foods that could be aggravating your digestive tract, and causing pains, bloating and discomforts to occur in the first place. If you feel signs of any of the problems mentioned above, try to avoid or consume less of the following:
Keep in mind…
Make sure to keep track of your digestive issues. If the problems are persistent, and don’t improve with changes in diet, you should see a specialist about what could be causing your discomfort. Avoid overdoing over-the-counter supplements, including probiotics and prebiotics, as it may aggravate the issue you are facing even more.
Writer Sasha de Beausset