How to prevent indigestion
Restraining yourself in any way might be the last thing on your mind this festive season. But if you’ve been bothered by indigestion before, you’ll know how miserable it can make you feel.
If you know from past experience that certain foods or situations seem to cause indigestion, it makes sense to try and avoid them as far as possible.
Other simple diet and lifestyle steps can also cut your risk, lowering your need for over-the-counter medication:
1. Eat several small meals instead of overeating at two to three super-sized meals.
2. Try to eat slowly.
3. Don’t talk while chewing and don’t chew with your mouth open. This results in swallowing too much air, which can worsen indigestion.
4. Avoid acid-rich foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
5. Cut down or avoid fatty, greasy or spicy foods, caffeine, fizzy cool drinks and chocolate. Some people find that these foods make indigestion worse.
6. Try to limit alcohol as it can irritate the stomach lining. Alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water.
7. Don’t drink fluids during meals; rather drink them afterwards.
8. Consider quitting smoking, or at least avoid lighting up before or after eating.
9. Avoid late-night snacking.
10. Wait at least two to three hours after eating before you lie down.
11. When you go to sleep after eating, use pillows to elevate your head at least 15cm above your feet.
12. Avoid wearing tight clothing that constricts your abdominal area.
13. Add digestion-enhancing foods like mint, fennel, ginger, cumin seeds and caraway seeds to your meals.
14. Eat yoghurt and other fermented food products regularly as they can help to restore the stomach’s microbial flora.
15. Alleviate indigestion with some exercise, but never exercise on a full stomach. Try to get active before a meal or at least one hour after eating.
16. If you tend to suffer from stress or anxiety, try therapies like massage, relaxation or meditation.