Imagine how it feels like to have stomach discomfort such as stomach pain, gastric acid reflux (GERD), heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. Very uncomfortable, isn’t it? Well, stomach issues are usually not a quick fix. If you rely on medications to save your stomach, you may mask the symptoms and cause more damages to your stomach lining. If the stomach issues have been overlooked for a period of time, you may suffer from chronic gastritis or stomach ulcers. Gastritis is a condition that involves inflammation of the stomach lining. A stomach ulcer also referred to as a peptic ulcer, is a small hole or lesion in the mucosal lining of the stomach.
Before we dive into the solutions for the stomach issues, let’s have a quick look at the causes of these stomach issues. When it comes to gastritis or stomach ulcers, H.pylori bacteria is the first culprit to be blamed.H. pylori are a common type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tract and has a tendency to attack the stomach lining. The letter “H” in the name is the abbreviation for Helicobacter. “Helico” means spiral, which indicates that these bacteria have a spiral shape. When H.pylori bacteria penetrate the stomach’s mucous lining and generate substances that neutralize stomach acids, this makes the stomach lining more vulnerable to the harsh acids and causes the stomach issues.
The dietary approach is first and also the most important approach to treat any stomach issue. As a matter of fact, it is also the most effective way to treat stomach related issues.
1. Start small frequent meals throughout the day.
The stomach secretes the juices including hydrochloric acid (HCL) and an enzyme called pepsin. This gastric acid kills bacteria and provides an environment for pepsin to digest food. If there is no layer of mucus that protects the stomach wall, the gastric acid would destroy the lining of the stomach. Having either too much or too little gastric acid can contribute to various forms of digestive problems and stomach aches. When you suffer from stomach pain on a regular basis, it is likely that you haven’t been eating on time for quite some time, and this can interrupt the routine of the gastric juice production in your stomach. Do you know that gastric juices can be very erosive? If you put some gastric juices on your skin, they can burn a hole! Unbelievable, isn’t it? Imagine what is going to happen with such erosive gastric juices in an empty stomach without adequate protection? Sooner or later it can cause the inflammation or ulcers in your stomach wall and leads to gastritis or stomach ulcers. In order to reduce the irritation from the gastric juices, the best way is to use food to neutralize its side effects, and this is why eating small frequent meals every 2 to 3 hours can help protect your stomach lining and reduce stomach discomfort.
2. Choose foods that comfort your stomach.
Some forms of gastritis are caused by drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis. If you suffer from gastritis, you should limit alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, and deep-fried foods. A healthy diet rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins will make it easier for the stomach to heal. When your stomach is upset, a light diet that is easy to digest can ease the stomach discomfort, such as yogurt, homemade vegetable soups, toasts, cooked rice, oatmeal and cooked vegetables, etc. Pay attention to the message from your body, if you’ve noticed that certain food causes the discomfort of your stomach regularly, it is a good idea to limit it.
If you have digestive problems, you should chew your food very well to help reduce the workload for your stomach. The saliva contains enzymes that are capable to break down certain food such as starch. Mindful eating is the key to prevent overeating and eating disorders.
3. Limit medications that irritate your stomach.
Some medications can contribute to stomach issues if they are taken regularly for a period of time. For example, aspirin can affect the lining of your stomach and cause stomach pain when taking it for a prolonged period of time. Common pain relievers, like ibuprofen and naproxen, can also lead to the stomach issues, such as heartburn and stomach irritation. Here are some commonly used drugs that may cause stomach issues, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), Theophylline. Calcium channel blockers, oral antibiotics, and birth control pills. If you suffer from stomach issues especially chronic gastritis or stomach ulcers, it is a good idea to limit these drugs that may further damage your stomach lining.
When it comes to the healing remedies for the common health challenges, food resources are always the best options to consider first because they are safe and beneficial to our health. Here are some amazing healing foods for the stomach issues.
The magic lies in the enzymes such as papain and chymopapain in the papaya, they help break down protein and comfort the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment. A study by A. C. Ezike, et al, published in the December 2009 edition of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” suggests that papaya extracts are helpful in treating stomach ulcers. Even the seeds in the papaya are edible and they make wonderful meat tenderizer and spices.
Cabbage not only aids digestion, but it also relieves stomach pain, reduces excess stomach acid, and shrinks stomach and intestinal ulcers. In a double-blind study of 45 inmates at San Quentin Prison in California, 93 percent of prisoners with stomach ulcers who were taking cabbage juice concentrate in capsules – the equivalent of a fresh quart of cabbage juice every day – were healed after three weeks. Drinking cabbage juice before eating can also help improve your digestion. Cabbage can also be used against irritated mucus, but it should be consumed consistently over the course of a few days. Raw potato juice is another powerful remedy for stomach ulcers and is more effective when taken in combination with the cabbage juice. Cabbage soups are another wonder food for treating the stomach issues.
According to the traditional medicine, Taro root is antibacterial in nature. It is known to improve digestion and ease the stomach discomfort. Cooked taro root is not only delicious but also very nutritious; it has more fiber than the potato and is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and trace minerals.
Ginger, chamomile, and peppermint are also great natural remedies to treat the stomach related issues. Ginger also has other amazing healing benefits, such as improving digestion, reducing nausea and motion sickness.
In order to reduce the inflammation in the stomach, we need to keep the culprit – H. pylori bacteria at the bay. Antibiotics are not always the best options out there because they can further damage the stomach lining and may contribute more digestive issues later on. In addition, they will also annihilate the good bacteria in your digestive tract. I am going to introduce a few natural remedies that are very effective to kill H. pylori bacteria in your stomach and heal your stomach fast.
Licorice: This ancient medicinal remedy has been shown to kill H. pylori, which the cause of most stomach ulcers. Several studies have shown that licorice heals stomach ulcers just as effectively as the drugs.
Garlic: Fresh garlic is a potent antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent. In order to get the most out of it, you should eat garlic fresh to stimulate the process that catalyzes the formation of allicin – the active ingredient in the garlic. You can compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer with other veggies.
Raw honey: Manuka honey is a special kind of honey that honey bees made by using the nectar from the wild Manuka trees popular in New Zealand and Australia. Manuka honey contains many active ingredients to fight the infection. It also has a wide range of antimicrobial properties against H. pylori bacteria and inhibiting their growth.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera inner gel as an effective natural agent for the treatment of H. pylori gastric infection. According to a recent study, Aloe Vera inner gel demonstrates antibacterial properties against both susceptible and resistant H. Pylori strains.
Probiotics: The role of probiotics in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections is increasingly being documented recently. Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus brevis are three specific strains of probiotics that have been addressed in the most studies for their ability to fight against H. pylori bacteria.
Propolis: Bee propolis contains many natural bioactive substances. According to a recent study, propolis extract was found to be a good inhibitor for H. pylori treatment and benefit the digestive health.
Besides dietary management, stimulating specific acupressure points can be very effective to relieve stomach discomfort such as heartburn and stomach pain according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These acupoints also promote the energy flow in the digestive system and speed up the healing process. There are two most important acupoints when it comes to the treatment of the stomach issues.
Stimulating Zhongwanacupoint can help relieve heartburn, nausea, gastric reflux (GERD) and stomach pain, etc. How to quickly locate this acupoint? Draw a vertical line from your belly button, and a horizontal line from the lowest ribs in your chest, the crossing point of these two lines is where Zhongwanacupoint is located. You can either massage this acupoint with a pressing and releasing manner for a few minutes each day or use moxibustion. Moxibustion is an amazing ancient healing technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Zusanliacupoint is another powerful acupoint that works wonder for the stomach issues, including indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gastric reflux (GERD), stomach pain and abdominal pain. It also helps reduce arthritis and knee pains. Where is this acupoint located? Start four finger widths down from the bottom of your kneecap and find your shin bone, then move one finger width to the outside of your shin bone, and this is where Zusanliacupoint is located. You can verify this acupoint by flexing and pointing your foot and feeling the muscle move right there. Massaging or doing moxibustion on this acupoint regularly will not only enhance your digestive system but also improve your physical stamina and prevent arthritis and knee injuries.
According to TCM, the spleen is a part of the digestive system, if the energy in your spleen is weak, it will, in turn, affect your digestive system. Spleen system is very important in TCM, believe it or not, chronic anemia is also linked to a weak spleen function according to TCM. Here are more tips to boost your spleen functions.
Last but not least, managing stress levels can also ease your stomach upset. Imagine you are getting butterflies in your stomach when you have to give a speech or in other stressful situations. No wonder stress can exact a very real toll on your digestive system. Our digestive system is highly sensitive and full of nerves, just like the brain.”There is definitely a connection between the brain and the gut,” says Francisco J. Marrero, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “The gut is called the little brain — it’s the largest area of nerves outside the brain.”Dr. Marrero also mentioned there are many different pathways communicating between the two that can lead to an upset stomach and other digestive problems as a result of stress.
Here are some tips to help manage your stress levels:
- Stay positive and worry less.
- Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.
- Keep a daily journal of what’s stressing you and what you did to feel better.
- Set a healthy boundary and say NO when you need to.
- Prioritize your workloads and responsibilities, and live a balanced life.
Insomnia can also increase your stress levels, which may lead to stomach upset. Here are some simple tips to overcome insomnia naturally.
According to TCM, our digestive system is the foundation of our physical health; it provides the vital energy and nutrients to main a sustainable life. With a comprehensive and consistent approach, you can get your stomach back on track in no time.
What are your tips to treat an upset stomach? Please share with us.
“Men who pass most comfortably through this world are those who possess good digestions and hard hearts.” – Harriet Martineau
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