After two years of being more mindful about our eating habits and food and health in general, we’ve developed couple tips and tricks that helps us stay free from digestive problems. Even though we’re not on keto at the moment we try to keep up with some rules that make our life a little bit more healthy.
I also noticed many people around me complaining about their digestive problems, stomach pains etc. So I thought I would share with you couple small but very powerful tips that can really help if you deal with digestive issues on a daily basis. And believe me they really work if you commit to make them regularly.
Also there’s couple people around me who already tried some of this tips and can confirm that they worked and helped them with their uncomfortable issues, that sometimes can be really bothering and often can ruin your day.
But lets start from the beginning.
How do I find if I have digestive problems?
If you notice any of this symptoms it means that there’s something not quite right with your digestion and you should start looking for solutions.
- reflux (reflux is a symptom of a deficiency of hydrochloric acid)
- intestinal overflow
- unpleasant taste in the throat
- upper abdominal discomfort
- tightness in the abdomen
- general pain and discomfort in your stomach and intestines.
As I said many times, we got so used to this symptoms, they became so common, that most of us doesn’t even recognize them as something wrong. If these happens to you often you should definitely keep reading.
Lots of these symptoms are due to low level of gastric acid in your stomach. Stomach acid creates an environment where digestion begins. In the stomach, thanks to the gastric acid, proteins are broken down and in this form they go to the duodenum. When there are too few gastric enzymes, including stomach acid, the whole proteins (undigested) go to further processing. Then if you digest badly, undigested proteins sit in you and rot, undigested carbs ferment, your stomach swells, eventually the toxins begin to leach into your blood.
What are the consequences of lacking stomach acid?
- proteins (meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, legumes) will not be digested and absorbed, which increases the risk of related diseases, e.g. osteoporosis, degenerative conditions.
- immune system begins to treat poorly digested proteins as an enemy and begins to fight “with itself” and produces inflammation that locates in various places and can cause, for example, allergies, asthma, skin problems, and thyroid diseases,
- malnutrition – limiting the absorption of nutrients from food – so even if you eat lots of healthy stuff if it cannot be digested properly your body won’t be able to absorb all the vitamins and microelements you provide with food,
- when this situation becomes chronic, and if you add to this prolonged stress, medications (especially antibiotics), constipation – bacteria and toxins can break the gut barrier and flow into the bloodstream. It’s called leaky gut syndrome and can cause “small” discomfort in our body (bloating, cramps, fatigue, food allergies and sensitivities, gas, and headaches) or more serious issues (autoimmune conditions, depression and other mood disorders, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis),
- our blood sugar levels are rising,
- it can cause skin problems: eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, vitiligo,
- fermentation and rotting of improperly digested food that creates bacteria, yeast and parasites growing in the gut.
How do I know if I have not enough gastric acid?
Bicarbonate of soda test.
Baking soda is alkaline, and your stomach is acidic. If the gastric acid level is high enough in contact with soda, it should cause a reaction that will result in the appearance of carbon dioxide. So – a powerful burp! But if you don’t have the right amount of stomach acid, the reaction will be very late or not at all.
How to make soda test?
Make sure you do the test on an empty stomach and you ate your last meal yesterday at 6 p.m. at the latest. That’s a requirement!
Then drink 3/4 cup of water with a level teaspoon of baking soda. I have to warn you it’s not going to be tasty.
- burp while drinking the potion, it’s acidosis. Low probability, but of course it does happens,
- burp up to 40 seconds after drinking: acidity (the closer to 40 seconds, the smaller),
- burp within 40 – 90 seconds, it means that your stomach is acidic,
- burp from 90 to 3 minutes, then weak (the closer to 3 minutes, the worse),
- and you don’t burp after more than 180 seconds or not at all, which also happens, means it’s not good.
I made this test before my keto diet and my result wasn’t the best (weak burp around 2 minutes after drinking soda). And now I regret that I didn’t do it again after couple months of keto. But I’m sure that the result would be much better.
OK, so you’ve noticed these uncomfortable symptoms I listed above, and you’ve made a test that came out as bad as mine. What to do next? There’s lots of thing you can do starting from changing your diet removing highly processed foods, gluten, sugar and/or dairy (depending which one creates the problem) and replace them with lots of fermented foods like: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles. But that’s usually a big change and huge step for most of people. I guess not everyone is ready for that. If you’re that kind of person, maybe small steps, small changes are better for you. So if you suspect that you have an issue with not enough gastric acid and other digestive difficulties, there are very simple, easy and cheap remedies.
As a disclaimer I have to notice that any of these are medical advice. All of these advises are coming from my nutritionist or from our personal experience. If you have any health issues please first advise your GP.
5 simple, easy and cheap remedies
for digestion problems
Apple cider vinegar.
You might feel it’s disgusting, but if you overcome the first couple times you drink it, later on it will be much easier. At the beginning I also thought it’s disgusting, but after couple days I got used to the taste. And couple of people I know that tried it also confirmed that it makes a huge difference and they feel relief. Always use raw unfiltered (also “with mother”) apple cider vinegar, you can also make your own using apples, water and sugar (there’s plenty of information online how to make it). To prepare apple cider vinegar drink you’ll need apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water. Simply add 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to a glass and fill with water up to about 2/3. Drink about 15 minutes before meal. As with most natural remedies, to work it needs to be done regularly. But if you try to include it into your daily routine it will become obvious and you won’t forget about it. Definitely worth trying. But if you absolutely cannot stand the taste of apple cider vinegar, at least try water with lots of lemon juice.
Linseed or flaxseed as they say in US is a great remedy for constipation and for general digestive health. Main causes of constipation is lack of fiber in your diet. Fibre is not digestible but it increases the size of your stools and makes them softer. Larger, softer stools help keep you regular, as they move more quickly through your bowels and are easier to pass. Insoluble fiber bulks up your stool and acts like a brush, sweeping through your bowels to get everything out and keep things moving. The soluble variety absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance. This helps your stool pass smoothly through your bowels and improves its form and consistency. Linseed contains plenty of soluble fiber and when comes in contact with water becomes gel-like paste that has a defecating effect, which makes it move faster through your intestines. This defecation process is what makes consuming linseed so different from any other kind of laxative. I know it doesn’t sound attractive but really works. I have a cup of linseeds every morning after my first coffee (morning without coffee is wasted), but you could have a cup in the evening. It’s also quite filling because of the fiber content, keeps you full for a while. You can mix couple teaspoons (like 2-3) of linseeds in boiling water and leave for the night then drink it, or rather eat it. But I prefer much more tasty option. Simply I grind linseeds using my old good coffee grinder. I mix 3 heaped teaspoons of linseed and 1 teaspoon of raw cacao powder with boiling water and leave it for about 10-15 minutes. Then I add a splash of almond milk and drink it. Tastes great and it has less gel-like consistency that’s difficult to swallow. I can guarantee that your visits in the bathroom becomes less stressful 🙂
Imagine your organs if you’re are sitting on the sofa or in front of the computer for most of the day – squeezed together without movement for hours. Believe it or not, but little bit of exercise every day can bring you some relief with your digestive issues. I felt much better (in every way) when I exercised in the morning. It’s past tense on purpose – I had a quite good morning routine before covid, then lockdown came and since then it’s really difficult for me to come back to morning exercise. But studies show that regular exercises can improve circulation in all areas of the body, including the digestive tract, physical activity improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, also constipation could be prevented with exercise, as being too sedentary can slow down digestion. Exercise although the simplest and the cheapest way to improve your digestion, is also the most demanding. At least for me. But definitely helps your body and mind in every way.
No drinking during meals.
As simple as it can be. Just skip a drink while you’re having your meal. It’s connected with the first point I mentioned – gastric acid. When you drink during meal gastric acid and digestive enzymes becomes diluted, which may result in slower digestion and retention of food in the stomach. The best is not to drink anything during the meal and have a glass of water or tea after 30 minutes when you finish your meal. Especially herbal teas are great for digestion, you can even make a with spices like: oregano, thyme or fennel. Which leads me to the fifth and last one remedy.
Use lots of spices.
I noticed that lots of people tends to use pre-made cooking sauces, stocks and dressings, instead of making there own full of flavour of freshly added spices. Even dried ones. Spices are everything! They not only boost the flavours of the food, but also (or mostly) have digestive properties. Sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, pepper, turmeric, ginger. All of them helps to stimulate digestion, regulates fermentation processes in bowels, helps to digest fats that our meals contains. They have bactericidal, cleansing and circulation-stimulating properties. They help especially with heavy meals full of fats that are more difficult to digest. Using lots of spices makes this process easier and less burdensome for the body. You can also use spices in a for of a tea or cold drink. My partner’s recent favourite drink mixture is camomile, fresh ginger, turmeric, mint and lemon boiled for about 5 minutes. He drinks it cold through out the day instead of water. He says it cleans his body, gives him energy and helps to digest.
All of these together will work like a charm for your digestive system. I highly encourage you to try at least one of them. Would be happy to hear how they helped you, just share you experience in the comment section.
Source of knowledge: