Diet changes to overcome gastric problems

Most Indians suffer from gastric problems due to faulty eating habits and lifestyle patterns. They tend to overeat and consider antacid as a quick solution to the uneasiness following a heavy fatty meal.

However, in some cases, heredity or some other medical/physiological condition result in a weak stomach causing frequent episodes of reflux (Click here to read 8 triggers that increase acid in stomach). Acid or alkaline reflux and ulcers can be managed by including certain foods that strengthen the LES causing it to function efficiently, reduce acid build-up and promote growth and maintenance of healthy microflora in the gut.

  1. Alkaline foods- Fresh fruits and vegetables promote an alkaline environment in the gut. Methods such as soaking and sprouting of legumes reduce their acid forming properties. Similarly, chewing whole grains thoroughly leads to their mixing with the alkaline saliva thereby reducing risk of acidity.
  2. Prebiotic – The gut microflora requires short chain fatty acids (SCFA) for their growth and proliferation. These short chain fatty acids are formed by fermentation of the indigestible portion of dietary carbohydrates including resistant starch and soluble fiber. The foods which promote growth of these friendly gut bacteria are called prebiotics.
  3. Probiotics – these are the gut friendly bacteria lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which improve gut motility and sensation and also help maintain the colon lining. These are naturally present in fermented foods such as yogurt, miso and sauerkraut.
  4. Soluble fiberAmong the common foods, the best sources of soluble fiber are: oat bran, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, broccoli, citrus fruit, pears, apples, barley and peas. However, most people do not consume all these foods on daily basis and hence their requirements are not fulfilled. Hence for those especially requiring maintenance of good gut health, it is advisable to consciously incorporate some specialized soluble fiber containing food sources. It is important to increase fiber intake gradually along with increased water intake to prevent undesirable symptoms of bloating, gas, etc.
  5. Garlic- The beneficial effects of garlic (Allium sativum) on cancers of stomach, colon and rectum, breast, prostate, and larynx is seen .  
  6. Phenols & organic acids- Organic acids such as malic, sorbic and benzoic in berries are efficient in permeating the outer membrane of Salmonella and hence can help in destruction of these harmful pathogens invading the human gastrointestinal tract .
  7. Red Wine- The organic acids in red wine act synergistically with polyphenols to result in antimicrobial effect.
  8. Ginger- Ginger contains chemicals, known as shogaols and gingerols, which help to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and also helps to relax the walls of the esophagus and aids in proper digestion
  9. Green plantains- Green plantains which are similar to bananas secrete an enzyme that promotes the production of mucus in the GI tract.
  10. Rice– Rice is completely absorbed in the small intestine and hence produces little gas or bloating and has low allergenicity. It has been proposed that rice based meals can be easily consumed in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders

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Stay healthy with eKincare – your personal health manager!

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Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist @eKincare.com

Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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