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10 ways to avoid heartburn and indigestion pain

heartburn and digestion tips

By WHN Editorial Team

Heartburn, gas, bloating and feeling sick to your stomach. Experiencing lots of digestive symptoms is simply no fun, especially around the holidays. The good news? You can still feast and feel good by taking just a few easy and all natural steps to support healthy digestion.

Fill up on fiber-rich foods. By helping move stomach contents along, fiber prevents acid from being pushed back into the esophagus. In fact, a new European study found that folks who upped their fiber intake slashed their risk of heartburn by 57 percent. At your feast, don’t skip the salad and look for other fiber-filled foods like sweet potato and fresh fruit.

Take some melatonin before going to bed. You made it home from the party in good shape, but then wake in the middle of the night with horrible reflux pain. Sound familiar? Researchers have found that taking melatonin before bedtime can prevent heartburn flares as effectively as over the counter PPI medications. Melatonin appears to strengthen the valve that stops stomach acid from traveling up into the esophagus. Plus, melatonin helps you get a good night’s sleep!

Give your gut bacteria a jump start with probiotics. high-quality probiotic with several diverse strains crowds out bad bacteria, which is a known trigger for digestive symptoms. Having enough of the “good bugs” on board helps calm bloating, gas, indigestion and nausea. For best results, pop a probiotic daily during the holiday feasting season — and beyond! For a probiotic-filled food to serve as your holiday meals, add a side dish of lacto-fermented kimchi or sauerkraut.

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Boost your digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help your body break down food. Your pancreas makes enzymes, but if poor digestion, especially of dairy-containing foods is a problem, you can try supplementing with the enzyme lactase for a digestive assist.

Keep portion sizes on the smaller side. Allow yourself to have your favorite tastes of holiday foods but start with a small amount first. This might be all you need to satisfy your appetite. You can always take a doggie bag home to enjoy a second round the next day. 

Run that holiday 5K. You want to keep the digestive process in motion. Physical movement increases blood flow to your organs and digestive tract, and revs up your metabolism. Make it a priority to get in some exercise before the big dinner. You can sign up for the local holiday 5K, but even a brisk 20-minute walk can make a difference.

Settle your stomach with herbs. Upset tummy? Have a little chamomile, ginger or fennel tea. You might also try the old standbys of cola or ginger ale to settle your stomach. According to Ayurvedic medicine, chewing a few fennel seeds can also do the trick. Whatever you choose, keep sipping on clear liquids so you don’t get dehydrated — that can make tummy troubles even worse.

Savor your meal. Chew thoroughly and slowly. Some digestion starts in your mouth, so let your saliva do its thing and save your stomach some digestive work. A single plate of food should take you at least 20 minutes to eat. Eating more slowly than usual also helps you enjoy your food more.

Use gravity to your advantage. Hold off on that post-feast nap for a few hours and sit, stand or walk instead. If you avoid laying down within 2 hours after eating, it allows gravity to help with moving foods down your GI tract. Even a short 10-minute walk can aid digestion.

The secret to weight loss could be hiding in your gut! See why with Probiotics for successful weight loss — the connection is real.

Last Updated: July 18, 2024
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