People going through bouts of poor digestive health are likely to try a range of home treatments to avoid the painful and embarrassing problems digestive disorders bring. Eating lots of “roughage,” drinking eight to 10 glasses of room-temperature water each day and walking after meals are classic digestion-boosters. Lemon juice and flaxseeds, either alone or in combination, may also help keep your digestive tract healthy. Talk to your physician about ongoing problems with pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or other digestive problems.
Problems with digestion run the gamut from occasional discomfort to chronic disease, according to Merck Manual’s online Home Health Handbook. Symptoms of digestive problems include nausea, vomiting, gas, constipation and diarrhea, as well as burning or pain anywhere along your digestive tract. While home treatments for minor problems may work, chronic or serious symptoms should be checked by a doctor before the condition worsens.
Flaxseeds boast two properties that make them a useful laxative and general digestive aid, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The seeds' fibrous content adds bulk to waste, allowing you to eliminate more of what you eat. In addition, flaxseeds have a mucilaginous quality, which provides a slippery coating to other foods moving through your digestive tract, also aiding in proper digestion. Flaxseeds, harvested from the flax plant, are sometimes known as linseeds. Use flaxseeds whole in cooked dishes, and unheated flaxseed oil on salads and over vegetables and rice. Flaxseeds make the best digestive aids when they are ground, according to UMMC.
One of lemon juice’s useful qualities is that it helps you digest fats more efficiently. Problems digesting fat can lead to diarrhea, the Merck Manual guide notes. Mehmet Oz, the physician hosting the health-centered “Dr. Oz” television program and website, says that lemon juice also aids digestion because it acts as an antibacterial agent. Specifically, the vitamin C content in lemon juice may counteract the affects of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is often responsible for peptic ulcers.
Oz provides a daily “cocktail” of flaxseed, lemon juice and water that he says may help regulate your digestion. Squeeze one-quarter of a lemon into 1 cup of hot water. Add 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseeds, then stir. Drinking it in the morning is the best way for the drink to achieve its balancing digestive action on the day’s meals, he notes. Alternatively, you can sprinkle lemon juice over salads, seafood and other fish throughout the day, and sprinkle flaxseeds over muffins and other baked goods, as well as salads and vegetables. Buy whole flaxseeds and grind them in an herb or coffee bean grinder just before consuming them, UMMC suggests.
- Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Digestive Disorders - Symptoms
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Flaxseeds
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Constipation
- The Dr. Oz Show: Lemon Juice and Flaxseed Drink
- University of North Texas Dining Services: Dietary Fiber
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: H. Pylori and Peptic Ulcers