5 common digestive problems and how to work on improving it.
Digestive issues occur to most of us with different symptoms every time. It could be heartburn and acid reflux, constipation or diarrhea, belching or gas.
Most of the time we fail to understand the underlying issue and we settle for a temporary fix. A lifestyle change with a well-balanced diet, which promotes healthy bacteria in your stomach with moderate exercise can make a major change in terms of your health
Here are 4 common digestive issues we face and steps to working on it.
Intestinal gas and Flatulence:
It’s a complex process including swallowed air and bacterial fermentation by the intestinal tract.
It is caused by abnormal methane production which further can lead to intestinal disorders. The causes differ according to inactivity, decreased motility, dietary habits leading to overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine causing bloating.
Monitoring of the diet and the amount of burping or gas passed may help to find out the specific foods that trigger and also the severity of the problem.
A sudden change in diet like an increase in fiber intake can also alter gas production.
Foods that increase gas production are as follows –
Legumes like beans and sprouts
- Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, mushrooms
- Fruits such as apple, pears, and peaches
- Milk, sodas, packaged foods, sugar-free candies, gums are other common triggers
Here are a few steps you can follow to reduce gas and feel lighter.
- A gradual increase in the intake of fiber with adequate water consumption reduces bloating.
- Boil ginger & cumin seeds in water and repeat two cups while feeling bloated
- You can include Buttermilk with 1 tsp jeera powder with lunch if you are not allergic to milk
- Eat small and simple meals, instead of overeating at once.
- Include fruits like banana, papaya, avocado, kiwifruit.
Difficult to defecate characterized by frequency or painful, hard, incomplete stools is known as constipation.
It has an impact on the quality of life and is faced by all age groups. Inadequate fiber intake, lack of exercise and fluid intake, extremely low calorie & low carbohydrate diets are contributing factors to constipation.
Here are a few steps you can follow to avoid / remedy for constipation
- Include more vegetables in your diets, especially the dark green leafy vegetables.
- Include cereals and millets like whole wheat, bajra, jowar, ragi
- Consume at least 2 – 3 servings of fruits, especially apple & banana.
- Include buttermilk or curd along with your meals
- Add 1 tbsp ghee to your main meals (lunch & dinner)
- Have lots of water throughout the day. At least 2- 3 liters.
WHO defines diarrhea as the passing of three or more loose, liquid stools per day.
Accelerated transit of intestinal contents, decreased digestion and absorption of fluids and nutrients occur in diarrhea and they are passed through the stools.
It can be a cause of infection, inflammatory disease, medications, excess consumption of sugars, or an allergic response to a certain food.
Diarrhea is a symptom and not a disease and hence finding the underlying cause for it is important.
Here are a few steps to consider for diarrhea.
- Replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost is the priority by including ORS ( after consulting your physician )
- Consumption of probiotics has shown to be beneficial, for eg, curd, buttermilk, yogurt, Yakult, etc
- Diet should include soft & small frequent meals, like soups, khichdi, juices, and kanji (rice/barley water)
- Fruits like Banana, apple, pear help to reduce diarrhea
- Sugars & milk should be avoided
Acidity is gastrointestinal acid reflux in the body. The causes of acidity may differ from person to person. Obesity, pregnancy, abnormal coughing, tight clothes, malnutrition, muscle wasting, unhealthy lifestyle, wrong dietary habits, stress, medications, etc.
People describe it as heartburn, chest pain, issues with ingestion. Curing it at the initial stage is crucial as it can lead to other chronic gastrointestinal disorders if persist for a long time.
Here are a few steps to consider for acidity.
- Avoid large meals, spicy, oily, and fried food.
- Avoid beverages like tea, coffee and other carbonated beverages like sodas & alcohol
- Make sure your diet consists of a good amount of fiber
- Include watery fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, papaya, and vegetables like cucumber, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.
- Herbs and spices like mint leaves, heeng, ginger, ajwain, cumin seeds help relieve acidity. You can prepare a concoction with sprinkle ajwain + 1 tsp cumin seeds and a small piece of ginger, boil it in 2 glasses of water and repeat twice a day.
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