Eat Well, Feel Great

Suf­fer­ing from pain and dis­com­fort af­ter ev­ery meal? it’s time to make some changes

Woman (UK) - - This Issue -

Fight in­di­ges­tion

We are all likely to suf­fer from in­di­ges­tion at least once in our lives. In fact, al­most 20% of us ex­pe­ri­ence an acid re­flux at­tack – when stom­ach acid goes back up into the oe­soph­a­gus – at least once a week*. But what changes can we make to our diet and lifestyle to avoid this? nutri­tion­ist Rob Hob­son ex­plains...

What’s the dif­fer­ence?

in­di­ges­tion and heart­burn are joined at the hip, but how do we dis­tin­guish one from the other? ‘in­di­ges­tion and heart­burn have sim­i­lar trig­gers but are not the same,’ ex­plains rob. the best way to sep­a­rate the two is to re­mem­ber that in­di­ges­tion is the con­di­tion and heart­burn is a symp­tom. ‘in­di­ges­tion is a feel­ing of dis­com­fort and pain in the up­per ab­domen af­ter eat­ing that causes bloat­ing, wind, belch­ing and some­times nau­sea,’ says rob. ‘heart­burn is caused by re­flux as stom­ach acid makes its way up to the oe­soph­a­gus caus­ing a burn­ing sen­sa­tion in your chest and throat.’

The causes

ac­cord­ing to rob, in­di­ges­tion can be caused by bad eat­ing habits. most com­mon, he ex­plains, would be overeat­ing, eat­ing too quickly or eat­ing on the go. Why? be­cause they fail to give the body enough time to pro­duce di­ges­tive en­zymes and of­ten mean you take in too much air when eat­ing. other causes in­clude med­i­ca­tions such as as­pirin, an­tibi­otics or non-steroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs, but here, in­di­ges­tion or heart­burn should be listed as a po­ten­tial side-ef­fect of the prod­ucts. con­di­tions such as chole­cys­ti­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the gall­blad­der), gas­tri­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the stom­ach) and stom­ach ul­cers will also trig­ger heart­burn and in­di­ges­tion symp­toms. diet also has a part to play, as ex­cess cof­fee, citrus fruits and spicy foods are all cul­prits.

Who is at risk?

heart­burn is most com­mon among those who are over­weight or obese. Preg­nant women also ex­pe­ri­ence it for sim­i­lar rea­sons, be­cause pres­sure from the ab­domen or ex­cess fat forces flu­ids back up to the oe­soph­a­gus. if you are go­ing through a stress­ful pe­riod, you're at risk, too. ‘Phys­i­o­log­i­cally, stress in­creases the pro­duc­tion of stom­ach acid, con­tribut­ing to in­di­ges­tion,’ adds rob. stress may lead to er­ratic di­etary pat­terns like skip­ping meals or go­ing for long pe­ri­ods with­out eat­ing, which both cause bloat­ing and in­di­ges­tion. stress can lead to overeat­ing and choos­ing fatty foods too, which also trig­ger the con­di­tion. and many turn to cof­fee or al­co­hol when stressed – no-nos when it comes to dodg­ing heart­burn.

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