Dr. Andrew Weil’s Guide to Treating Indigestion

indigestionAndrew Weil, MD is an American doctor who specializes in holistic health and integrative medicine. He blogs about every conceivable topic related to wellness and is an invaluable source of tips for living a healthier lifestyle.

His recent post about curing indigestion caught my eye. These are key points from it:

“You can get indigestion from eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods, drinking too much alcohol or consuming too many caffeinated beverages. Consuming foods that are incompletely broken down, or to which individuals are intolerant (such as dairy products) can cause stomach upset. Indigestion can also occur in response to stress, smoking or taking stomach irritating medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

“In some cases, persistent indigestion isn’t related to any of these factors. This “functional” or “nonulcer” indigestion can be a result of the way food moves through the digestive tract and may be stress-related.”

According to Dr. Weil: “Your digestive system mirrors your state of mind, which is why so many digestive disorders are stress-related. Become aware of your emotional outlook as well as your eating habits. Once you figure out exactly what’s triggering your pain, you need to make a lifestyle change that may include relaxation exercises, yoga or meditation. Here are some other remedies you can try:

Dietary changes:

Drink peppermint tea, an excellent stomach soother. (However, it may worsen esophageal reflux by relaxing the sphincter where the esophagus joins the stomach. Chamomile tea is an alternative.)

Drink ginger tea, eat candied ginger or take a 500 mg capsule of ginger root extract.

Mind/Body:

One of the best single anti-anxiety measures, controlling breathing and breath work can offer an immediate stress relief, and reduction of indigestion. Biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help to encourage healthy coping skills.”

He also recommends supplements such as probiotics, especially “brands containing Bacillus coagulans (BC-30) or Lactobacillus GG in liquid or capsule form.”

Read his full post, Treating Indigestion. Follow him on Twitter @DrWeil.