Dyspepsia, or indigestion, commonly causes burning or gnawing sensations in the upper abdomen. Other symptoms of indigestion include belching, bloating, heartburn, vomiting and nausea. Although many foods might cause indigestion, some foods and beverages actually soothe digestive discomfort and even improve the overall efficiency of your digestive system.
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Chamomile tea helps relax muscle contractions in the intestines and is also sometimes used to help treat indigestion and other digestive troubles, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Peppermint tea may also be beneficial for reducing burning sensations because it calms the stomach muscles and can help improve the body’s ability to digest fats. However, you should stick with chamomile tea if your stomach burning is related to gastroesophageal reflux disease; in this case, peppermint may actually make symptoms worse. Drink these soothing herbal teas between meals to reduce indigestion.
Fatty and greasy foods typically make indigestion worse, so avoid them whenever possible. Fortunately, most foods and beverages come in low-fat varieties. Stick with skim or low-fat milk, eat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, choose lean ground beef and white poultry over fattier meats, have pasta with a vegetable-based sauce rather than a cream or cheese sauce, eat broth soups instead of cream soups and choose air-popped popcorn, fruits and vegetables over nuts, recommends the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Eating high-fat foods can help you feel full, but you will need to find ways to fill that deficiency when you cut back on fat. Eating whole grains will help you stay full because they digest more slowly than do refined grains such as white rice. Emphasize oatmeal, brown rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and whole-wheat breads in your meals to nix the stomach burn while staying satiated. Many fruits and vegetables also contain fiber.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating too many citrus fruits, tomatoes and oil-cooked vegetables can cause burning sensations in your upper abdomen. Low-acid fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, mangoes and melons should cause less of a problem. Most vegetables are naturally low in acid, but avoid frying them or slathering them in oil. Give them a light dousing of olive oil when you roast them to reduce their fat quotient.
Some causes of indigestion need medical treatment. For instance, burning sensations that occur due to a stomach ulcer or irritation caused by H. pylori bacteria may need treatment with antibiotics or medications that help reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. A hiatal hernia, which occurs when part of your stomach slides up through your diaphragm, also causes persistent burning sensations if you don’t get it treated.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Indigestion
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peptic Ulcer
- Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology; Non Ulcer Dyspepsia Diet; Frank Jackson, M.D.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peppermint
- National Heart Lunch and Blood Institute: Low-Calorie, Lower-Fat Alternative Foods
- University of Maryland Medical Center: German Chamomile
- Mediterranean Book: List of Good Low Acid Foods to Eat