SOS

After the holiday season, it is time to get back on track with our daily routine, so as your stomach, it has been loaded with big meals with family dinners. Some even suffer from stomach issues. Imagine how it feels like to have stomach discomforts 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 some 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.

Pathology 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 grow in the digestive tract and have 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 stomach issues.

The dietary approach is the first and also the most important approach to treat any stomach issue. It is also the most effective way to treat stomach-related issues.

Dietary intervention

1. Start small light meals throughout the day.

The stomach secretes the juices including hydrochloric acid (HCL) and an enzyme called pepsin. These gastric acids kill bacteria and provide an environment for pepsin to digest food. If no layer of mucus protects the stomach wall, the gastric acid would destroy the lining of the stomach. Acid reflux in most cases is related to not having enough stomach acids and the stomach acids are weak. When you suffer from stomach pain regularly. Likely, 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 a damaged stomach lining without adequate protection? Sooner or later it can cause inflammation or ulcers in your stomach wall and leads to gastritis or stomach ulcers. To reduce the irritation from the gastric juices, the best way is to use food to eat small frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours can help protect your stomach lining and reduce stomach discomfort.

2. Choose foods that comfort your stomach.
Choose foods that comfort your stomach

Some forms of gastritis are caused by drinking too much alcohol regularly. If you suffer from gastritis, you should limit alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, acidic foods, and deep-fried foods. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins will make it easier for the stomach to heal. When your stomach is upset, a light mono-diet with stomach comfort food can help, such as a warm squash soup, potatoes, and papaya, 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 until your stomach is healed.

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 preventing 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), TheophyllineCalcium 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 stomach issues.

PapayaPapaya

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 help treat stomach ulcers. Even the seeds in the papaya are edible and they make wonderful meat tenderizers and spices.

Here are more amazing healing benefits of papaya that you may not be aware of.

Cabbage

Cabbage not only aids digestion, but also relieves stomach pain, reduces excess stomach acid, and shrinks the 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 and heal the stomach lining. Cabbage can also be used against irritating mucus, but it should be consumed consistently over a few days. Raw potato juice is another powerful remedy for stomach ulcers and is more effective when taken in combination with cabbage juice. Cabbage soups are another wonder food for treating stomach discomfort.

Taro root
Taro root

According to traditional medicine, the taro root is antibacterial in nature. It is known to improve digestion and ease 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. Squash and pumpkin are also stomach healing foods, a warm bowl of pumpkin soup can be very stomach comforting,

Ginger, chamomile, cayenne pepper, and peppermint are also great natural remedies to treat stomach-related issues. You may not aware that half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder before each meal can not only heal your digestive tract fast but also heal stomach ulcers.

Ginger also has other amazing healing benefits, such as improving digestion, reducing nausea and motion sickness.

To reduce the inflammation in the stomach, we need to keep the culprit – H. pylori bacteria at the bay. Antibiotics are not the good solutions out there because they can further damage the stomach lining and contribute to more digestive issues later on. They will also kill 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 rootThis ancient medicinal remedy has been shown to kill H. pylori, which is 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. 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 garlic. You can compress a fresh clove with a spoon before 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 infection. It also has a wide range of antimicrobial properties against H. pylori bacteria and inhibits their growth.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera inner gel is 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 fermentumLactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus Brevis are three specific strains of probiotics that have been addressed in most studies for their ability to fight against H. pylori bacteria.

Propolis: Bee propolis contains many natural bioactive substances. According to recent studies, propolis extract was found to be a good inhibitor for H. pylori treatment and benefit digestive health.

Slippery elm is another gift from Mother Nature that helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and heals both stomach and esophagus inflammations, it also helps regulate your bowel movements. You can mix 1 tsp. of slippery elm powder with water and take it a few times with meals throughout the day. When you take it at bedtime, it also helps reduce acid reflux and heartburn at night.

Besides dietary management, stimulating specific acupressure points can be very effective to relieve stomach discomfort such as heartburn and stomach pain according to 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 stomach issues.

Zhongwan Acupoint
Zhongwan Acupoint

Stimulating the Zhongwan acupoint 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 the Zhongwan acupoint 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.

Zusanli Acupoint
Zusanli acupoint

The Zusanli acupoint is another powerful acupoint that works wonders for 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 the Zusanli acupoint 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. The 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
Blood supply

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 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 many different pathways are 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:

Manage your stress level

    • 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.

Quote

“Men who pass most comfortably through this world are those who possess good digestions and hard hearts.” – Harriet Martineau

If you are interested in more self-care tips from the ancient wisdom of TCM, please check the book from Lucy Liu “88 Most Important First-Aid Acupoints for Self-care from TCM”. This book includes 88 most important acupoints (acupressure points) from the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for self-care. It is designed in a beautiful and colorful card fashion, which is very visual and user-friendly to the readers, it is also easy to memorize the information with precise visual aids. This book covers the most common health challenges, such as cold, fever, cough, sore throat, headache, indigestion, diarrhea/constipation, bloating, insomnia, night sweat, computer syndromes, shoulder pain, and back pain, etc. It can also be used to effectively manage chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic pains, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and weight management; and it can also be used for anti-aging purposes and enhancing longevity.

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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Master NLP Practitioner, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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