At the first sign of indigestion, you may be inclined to pop an antacid. After all, heartburn can be very uncomfortable, and TV commercials tell us that acid indigestion may be a sign of a dangerous, erosive esophageal condition aggravated by reflux.
But, not so fast. Contrary to popular thinking, most stomach problems develop because of not enough stomach acid, rather than too much.
Regardless of the TV hype, if you suffer from stomach upset or heartburn, don’t simply cover up the problem with Tums or Rolaids. It’s better to deal with underlying causes, such as insufficient acid or an impaired mucous lining in your digestive tract.
The Natural Solution
- Avoid excessive refined sugar, caffeine and fried foods. These all have a negative impact on your digestion, leading to gas, impaired acid secretion and gastric inflammation, heartburn and pain.
- Chew food extra thoroughly. Adding saliva to your food jumpstarts the digestive process.
- Use digestive enzymes. Research shows that people over age 40 are quite likely to have digestive enzyme deficiencies, particularly in stomach acid. Take enzymes with each full meal to help your food fully digest.
- Don’t drink too much liquid while eating. Excess fluid dilutes acid and renders the digestive system less efficient.
Occasional Antacid Remedies
Once in a while you may feel the need to resort to an antacid remedy. For occasional, mild discomfort, the following suggestions are the most user-friendly, readily available and least noxious solutions:
- Pepto-Bismol coats the lining of the digestive tract, mimicking the natural mucous lining. It contains pepsin, an enzyme that is naturally present in fruits and vegetables, which helps to settle the stomach.
- Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, quickly quenches stomach acid in a natural way. It’s not only effective, it’s inexpensive, too.