What is Indigestion?

Indigestion is caused when your body produces too much intestinal gas. Intestinal gas is a normal byproduct of digestion.

Everyone is familiar with the discomfort when the body produces excess intestinal gas. This would be pain, burping, bloating and flatulence. Much research was done on the subject of indigestion during the 20th century. At a later time, researchers found answers to many common questions about indigestion.

Nearly 100% of intestinal gas is made of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. The amount of each depends upon the body chemistry and diet of each person. The oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide come from the air swallowed with eating and drinking. Bacteria in the large intestine produce methane and hydrogen. These bacteria feed on undigested food and release gas which is fermentation. Indigestion is caused by carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and carbonated beverages are the biggest culprits when it comes to intestinal gas. Other gas producing foods are, Raffinose-a sugar found in cabbage, beans, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts and whole grains,

Lactose-found in anything containing milk or milk products, Fructose-found in artichokes, onions, pears, wheat and some soft drinks, and Sorbitol-found in pears, prunes, apples, peaches and some sugar-free candies and chewing gum. Any or all of these foods can produce excess gas and induce indigestion. The fiber in beans, peas, most fruits and oat bran is also a major gas producer. We all know the outcome of eating too many pork and beans or bean soup.

Rice is the only starch absorbed almost completely by the small intestine and is not digested by the lower intestine so it produces no gas and is a great food to avoid indigestion.

If you find you are getting indigestion more often you may want to try one or more of the following. Exercise after a meal is a good way to stimulate good digestion. You can change your diet by cutting down on dairy products and taking calcium supplements to get your daily requirement. You may also try reducing your intake of a few gas-producing foods for a week. If you find your indigestion improves you may want to cut them from your diet completely.