Lifestyle and Indigestion

Had friends over for a party? Gorged on spicy starters and heavenly desserts? Played charades and antakshari all night?

The next day you wake up feeling like a cylinder of gas has swapped places with your stomach, your throat is on fire, and waves of nausea are making you reel.
This is indigestion. While it may not sound like a very serious issue, it can cause distress and ruin your day. It is triggered by various factors like stress, lack of sleep, over-indulgence in starchy, fried or sugary foods, excessive alcohol, smoking, and medications.

  • Stress
    Nobody is immune to stress these days. Hectic schedules, troubling traffic, and burgeoning responsibilities all add to the burden of stress. Stress can put your body in the fight or flight mode. This can disrupt the balance of normal flora in your gut, disturb the release of digestive enzymes, and make you prone to indigestion.
  • Sleep
    Just like the rest of your body, your digestive system requires time to relax and revive too. If you are up watching a football match or scrolling through social media until midnight, your gut will rebel, and you will fall prey to digestive issues.
  • Antibiotics
    When you get an infection, your doctor prescribes antibiotics for you. The advantage is that antibiotics kill harmful bacteria that cause infection. On the down side, they also kill beneficial bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy. This can disturb the gut and cause diarrhea. Other medicines like painkillers, steroids, etc. can also lead to indigestion.
  • Sedentary habits
    Do you prefer to watch a sports channel on television instead of actually getting on the playground? Do you often make excuses to refrain from physical exercise? You are not doing your digestive system any favors as lack of physical activity can make your metabolism slow and sluggish and impact your digestive system too. Get up and about if you want to avoid digestive issues.
  • Smoking
    Smoking can set your digestion on fire and burn down your health. The stomach contains digestive acid. To prevent this acid from backwashing into the food pipe, there exists a muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Smoking weakens this ring of muscle and can damage the cells lining the esophagus leading to a host of digestive issues like GERD.
  • Overindulgence
    Festivals, parties, and get-togethers all seem incomplete without feasting, but if you overindulge in these eats and treats, your digestive system may suffer. Try to limit the 3 “S”s in foods: spicy, starchy, and sugary. Say a firm “no” to that unnecessary second helping. Limit alcoholic and caffeine-based beverages.

Simple lifestyle changes to prevent digestive issues:

  • Get active. Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise every day. Be it working out in the gym, swimming, playing a sport, or walking your pet.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Eat and drink in moderation
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet full of fruits, vegetables, sprouts, beans, and lentils.
  • Replace coffee, cola, and alcohol with vegetable smoothies, fresh juices, and water.
  • Get 7 hours of sleep. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Quit smoking
  • Choose healthy options like salads and soups while eating out.
  • Set meal timings and stick to them.
  • Have small frequent meals instead of two or three heavy ones.