Often suffering from bloating, gas, upset stomach, abdominal cramping, and other discomfort after consuming a meal? Most men occasionally experience heartburn and indigestion, especially after having big meals — but there are some people who experience these digestive problems very frequently.
Indigestion is certainly a common problem faced by many— it is estimated that an approximate of almost 5 million men in The United States of America alone, suffer from the problem of frequent indigestion.
Indigestion can come from anything. Be it undercooked food, too much junk in the food, over processed food, amongst others. Let’s quit the guessing game, and read on to know the reasons behind the cause of Indigestion, and ways to beat it.
Lack of digestive enzymes is one of the main reasons that contribute to the cause of indigestion.
Indigestion is caused due to poor eating habits, like inadequately chewing of food, eating at late hours in the day and "eating on the move". These eating habits can wreak havoc on your digestive system by leading to the inadequate production of digestive enzymes, which are well, essential for the food to get digested.
When a person eats a meal, about 22 types of digestive enzymes are released from the salivary gland, stomach and small intestine in the body. Every enzyme acts on specific types of food — for example, proteases are responsible for breakdown of proteins, while amylases help in the digestion of carbohydrates and lipases religiously break down the fat and lipids in a meal. These digestive enzymes help the body digest and absorb the nutrients it needs, by breaking down these foods to simpler compounds.
Ageing can also be a contributing factor to frequent indigestion in men. As man gets older, the production levels of digestive enzymes in his body start to reduce to a level where, sometimes they are not enough to properly digest food.
There several things that can be done to prevent indigestion and improve the overall digestive health. Read on to know the five tips to get riddance from indigestion:
1. Consume loads of fiber every day
Fibers are not only the key to keeping indigestion at bay, but are essential for the overall health of a person. The rather unfortunate fact that, a lot of people’s diets have the presence of junk and fast foods, red meat, and foods that are high in fat content – This is certainly a recipe for indigestion.
A diet rich in fiber, or as it is called a high-fiber diet is an important part of healthy eating. Fibers not only aide in the process of digestion, it can also be helpful in the prevention of chronic conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease, hemorrhoids, colorectal cancer, amongst other diseases.
American men on an average, consume only 10 to 15 grams of fiber every day, or half of the required daily intake.
Increasing the intake of daily fiber is usually synonymous with adapting to the habit of eating healthier. Consider consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals, and nuts contain plenty of fiber. Adapting to high fiber diet doesn't have to be painful — one can choose from a range of high-fiber cereals for breakfast, replace white bread with whole-wheat bread instead, and snack on air-popped popcorn instead of unhealthy candy, or fried snacks.
Tip: Try avoiding foods that can cause gas— the foods you should look out for foods mentioned below: broccoli, baked beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and carbonated drinks. For some men, starches — such as wheat, oats and potatoes — can also be the cause of formation of excess gas in the stomach. In the case that you are lactose intolerant, it is best that you lay off dairy products or consume lactase enzymes to get help with digestion of the food you consume.
Remember, water is your best friend. Consume plenty of water, since water has the ability to lubricate food in the digestive tract. It helps dissolve minerals, vitamins and nutrients and facilitates easier absorption. Water keeps the stool moist to prevent constipation.
2. Eat less, Chew More
We are usually either too hungry, or too late to be able to eat food in the right manner. Chewing the food properly is one of the most important parts of digestion, and is probably the most forgotten practice. Chewing the food not only helps in the break down, but also signals the salivary glands, stomach and the small intestine to initiate the release of digestive enzymes.
Tip: Gluttony is Not Good. No matter how hungry you are, no matter how tasty the food be, try not to overeat. Your body has only so many digestive enzymes to go around. You must also realize that a large meal requires your stomach to produce more quantities of acid to help the digestion of that food. This in turn will increase your chances of experiencing problems like heartburn and indigestion.
3. Avoid stress, Exercise Regularly
Stress is your biggest enemy. Beat stress with exercise or other stress busting activities. Exercise can help with digestion, in addition to helping you maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. According to a scientific study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal has revealed that many digestive problems can actually be reduced by physical activity. In this study, scientists were able to find a link between obesity, lack of exercise, stomach pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms of the condition of irritable bowel syndrome.
On the other hand, stress can actually have a negative effect on the process of digestion. In most men, the "fight or flight" response that comes from blood flow reduced by stress to the abdomen and the production of digestive enzymes. This slows the process of the digestive system, which further results in problems like heartburn, bloating and constipation.
4. Don't Use Antacids in Access
For a matter of fact, acids present in the stomach help the body digest the food we eat. However, the burning sensation of indigestion is caused in some cases, as these acids can "reflux" or back up into the esophagus. Men often reach for antacids when this happens. These antacids are the ones that are available usually over the counter pills that work by neutralizing the acids in the stomach. However, antacids can lead in the stomach to lose its normal functionality and makes it vulnerable to the threat of bacterial infections.
5. Resort to Digestive Enzyme Supplements
You can promote good digestion and also enhance the absorption of nutrients by consuming digestive enzymes derived from plant sources. Consuming enzyme supplements can reduce the symptoms of indigestion and upset stomach significantly, in cases where men lack in the adequate amounts of digestive enzymes. This happens due to poor diet and poor health.
Tip: Consuming extra digestive enzymes can help healthy men maintain good digestive health.
A good digestive enzyme is one which contains a mix of amylase, lipase, cellulase (for digesting plant fibers), and protease. Consuming this variety of enzymes is the key to achieving good digestion of food.
Eat to Enjoy, Enjoy Eating Again.
Indigestion can certainly prove to be an alarming symptom of a much more serious digestive disease that is on its way. The problem of indigestion can lead to diseases like Crohn's disease, acid reflux or GERD, and irritable bowel syndrome as well.
Hence, in addition to maintaining a healthy eating habit and taking a digestive enzyme supplement, make sure that you do not forget to consult your physician if you experience frequent episodes of indigestion, too often. You now know the different ways to curb the problem of indigestion, and can now avoid it from ruining your digestive system.