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Indigestion and Gastric Reflux

Other conditions, which your GP will be less familiar with are leaky gut, parasites or candida in the intestines, although the “well-read” GP may be aware of them.  Complementary practitioners are more likely to isolate these problems and there are a number of dietary measures you can take which should deal with the symptoms, if these are the cause.

Here are some suggestions:
Eat foods rich in fibre – preferably wholegrain breads and cereals
Avoid acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes and red meat
Drink a glass of freshly squeezed juice made up of equal parts apples, carrots and beetroot.
Avoid all refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, white bread and pasta), pips in foods, and foods that commonly cause flatulence such as peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage and onions as well as alcohol and caffeine
Peel foods that have tough skins, as more hydrochloric acid (gastric acid) is required to break them down for digestion
Avoid drinking liquids with meals as these dilute the enzymes needed to digest the food.  If there are insufficient enzymes present, more hydrochloric acid is produced by the stomach to compensate in order to break down the food
Avoid drinking very hot or very cold liquids
Avoid cows milk or products containing carrageenan, a seaweed used as a stabiliser in ice cream, yoghurt and cottage cheese
Take a multivitamin and mineral tonic with added enzymes
If you suspect you may have parasites (more common than you would think), a course of a herbal parasite treatment should help to eliminate them  
Take a high quality pro-biotic to repopulate the intestine with good bacteria e.g. acidophilus and bifidus especially if you suspect candida (yeast infection) which is very common.
Chewing gum for an hour after a meal has also been found to ease gastro-oesophageal reflux.  Make sure the gum does not contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or saccharin.
Take Aloe vera juice or gel as this has been shown to neutralise excess acid without interfering with digestion
Thankfully most of us only suffer with indigestion, temporarily, but should the symptoms continue for a few days it would be worth trying some of the measures listed above.  
If you have recently taken anti-biotics or eat a highly processed diet, candida may be the underlying cause of your symptoms.  This may also be accompanied with abdominal discomfort or bloating.  It is important to deal with this problem as soon as possible as there is evidence to show that it may lead to cancer in the long term.  You can find anti-candida diets on the internet but generally you would need to eliminate all sugar and yeast products from your diet and take a high dose pro-biotic containing acidophilus and bifidus (good bacteria) to bring back the correct balance in your intestines.

lady with heartburn
With many of us over-indulging with our food, heartburn and indigestion often become a problem.  The first thing we think of doing is to reach for the antacids.  Although they may give temporary relief, antacids should never be used long-term.

Recent research has shown that antacids of all types i.e. the over-the-counter remedies, the H2 antagonists and proton-pump inhibitors prescribed by the GP, can double the risk of pneumonia.  The Dutch scientists who conducted this study believe that by suppressing gastric acid secretion, viruses and bacteria in the upper gastro-intestinal tract are able to migrate into the upper respiratory tract, therefore increasing the risk of developing pneumonia.  Doctors are now being advised to take care when prescribing antacids for the elderly, especially as gastric acid production decreases with age.
If you have frequent reflux, heartburn or indigestion, this may be a sign of a more serious, underlying problem such as a peptic ulcer, hiatus hernia, Helicobacter (bacteria) infection, an ulcerated oesophagus (Barrett’s oesophagus) or even cancer.  Therefore, if you have persistent symptoms, it is advisable to visit your GP to rule out any of these conditions.  
Disclaimer: The information in this article should not be regarded as medical advice.  If you are receiving medical treatment or taking prescribed medication, you are advised to consult your GP or health practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Indigestion and Gastric Reflux