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Are you reading this lying down feeling a little bit bloated and uncomfortable?

Are you reading this lying down feeling a little bit bloated and uncomfortable?

Indigestion is not a specific disease but an indicator that something is causing the digestive system to work abnormally.

Are you reading this lying down feeling a little bit bloated and uncomfortable?

Do you regularly need to burp, feel a burning sensation at the top of your stomach or are often uncomfortably bloated after a meal? You may be suffering from indigestion. Indigestion is not a specific disease but an indicator that something is not right with your digestive system.

Improper diet, overeating, hurried meals, strong spices, stress, digestive enzyme deficiency and hydrochloric acid deficiency are among the main culprits for indigestion. Other factors that can lead to indigestion include food allergy, constipation, smoking, pregnancy, hiatus hernia, gall bladder disease and lack of exercise.

It’s important not to ignore indigestion, as longstanding acid reflux can scar the lower end of the oesophagus and even lead to a cancerous growth.


Over-consumption of refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, cakes and biscuits) and fatty foods impedes digestion, which causes the uncomfortable symptoms of indigestion. Strong spices and salt can irritate the stomach, causing excess acid. Other irritants include sugar, pepper, curries, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol. Excessively hot or cold foods can also irritate the stomach lining, leading to poor digestion.


If you eat excessively large meals, your stomach may not be able to produce enough enzymes to fully break down all the food; some can pass into the small intestine, where it ferments and causes bloating and gas. If you eat too frequently, this can also happen before the last meal has been completely digested. Gulping down your food and not chewing properly can also slow down digestion because the food chunks are too big for the enzymes to break them down properly. Eating when stressed can also lead to indigestion, as stressful emotions cause the nervous system to shut down the digestive system in preparation for what it interprets as an emergency situation.


Many people in the 50+ age group suffer from indigestion because of hydrochloric acid deficiency. This common problem causes gas, bloating, poor digestion and malabsorption of most minerals and some vitamins. Though most people assume they have too much stomach acid when they have heartburn, the opposite is more frequently true. It’s therefore important to have heartburn properly diagnosed and treated, as hydrochloric acid deficiency is also associated with a range of diseases such as hypothyroidism, asthma, arthritis and eczema.


Digestive enzymes are responsible for breaking down food. If they are inhibited or deficient, food is not broken down properly and problems such as nutrient deficiencies, bloating and flatulence can occur. Some people can also suffer from indigestion because of hiatus hernia. This is when a small portion of the stomach passes up through the diaphragm, causing indigestion. Pregnant women can suffer from indigestion because of the baby exerting upward pressure on the stomach.


Always get advice from your healthcare practitioner before starting any treatment and to make sure you have the right diagnosis. The medical treatment for mild indigestion is antacid medication, which can relieve the symptoms by neutralising stomach acid.
As well as making lifestyle changes, natural remedies are particularly useful for dealing with indigestion. Supplements that contain digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid can help to relieve indigestion. Also Swedish bitters has traditionally been used internally to relieve the symptoms of indigestion and is ideal after a rich, heavy meal. Probiotics encourage healthy digestion by maintaining the “friendly” bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics have a range of functions, from helping the body to digest protein to assisting in the production of B vitamins.

Other things you can do to prevent or relieve indigestion:

  •  Have a cup of peppermint or ginger tea after meals to aid digestion.
  • Eat plenty of alkaline foods such as leafy green vegetables.
  • Don’t drink too much liquid with your meals as they can dilute digestive juices.
  • Don’t go to bed with a full stomach.
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