November 14, 2021
Indigestion, heartburn, wind and bloating are subjects we don’t talk about enough. Maybe they’re seen as too embarrassing, or else not serious enough to be given attention. But symptoms like these are a sign that your stomach and digestion isn’t coping and needs a little TLC to soothe and repair.
Indigestion and heartburn
Often it’s lack of food in the stomach, rather than problematic ingredients, that starts the trouble. When the stomach is empty, the gastric acids can begin to erode the stomach lining, causing pain, heartburn and bloating.
If your stomach is sensitive in this way, one solution is to have small amounts of food every couple of hours. This helps to line the stomach and protect it from gastric acids. Milk is known to have a therapeutic effect on the stomach lining, and a cooling sensation that soothes symptoms.
Our dairy-based Nourish Drinks are ideal as you can have a few nourishing sips, then reseal the carton to save the rest for later. The Raspberry and Mango Nourish Drinks are also good if you enjoy fruit flavours, but find that acidic fruit juices aggravate your stomach.
Read more: Bowel problems and IBS
Excess wind and bloating
Certain foods are notorious for causing excess wind, especially if you already have a sensitive gut – cauliflower, cabbage, onions, beans, Jerusalem artichokes and dried fruits are key culprits. Fatty and spicy foods are other big triggers. Wind that’s trapped in the gut can cause pain and cause the stomach to inflate, then can cause flatulence as it moves through the digestive tract.
Tips to manage bloating
If you often experience these symptoms, it’s worth keeping a food diary to try to identify the foods causing them. While it can be dangerous to remove entire food groups from your diet, avoiding or restricting one or two troublesome ingredients for a while may be enough to break the wind-and-bloating cycle.
Cooked vegetables are often more gentle on the gut that raw ones, so it may be best to cut back on salads and eat more soothing soups, which should be easier on your system.
Sit up and eat more slowly
This might be something you’d remind a child who is bolting down their food but who of us hasn’t eaten on the run, or snacked while lying on the sofa?
If we eat too quickly or while slouching, we’re more likely to swallow a lot of air with each mouthful – and that’s a fast track to indigestion and bloating.
Prebiotics, probiotics and gut health
Certain treatments, and medication such as antibiotics, can sensitise the gut and kill off the beneficial bacteria that help us to digest our food, increase our immunity, and protect against inflammation and disease. Medicines can also trigger uncomfortable side effects of indigestion, wind and bloating.
We can help to restore our gut health by eating prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotics are plant fibres that help the beneficial bacteria in our gut to thrive – good sources include apples, green vegetables, berries and bananas. Probiotics are live bacteria that live in the body and help with digestion. They’re found in fermented foods and live yoghurt.
If you’re suffering from cramps, wind or bloating, these simple remedies can help…
- Get moving A walk or gentle exercise can help wind move through the system so it can be expelled from the body.
- Warm up A hot water bottle over the tummy or a warm bath can ease cramps.
- Drink herbal tea Fennel, ginger, peppermint and chamomile teas can all help to reduce bloating and cramps. Make sure not to make them too strong, as this may then make symptoms worse.
For more ideas read Herbal Tonic