Updated: Dec 2, 2018
Digestive issues are probably one of the most common complaints I hear from clients. A common imbalance I see is having low stomach acid or an under active stomach. Having low hydrochloric acid can inhibit proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, especially protein and omega-3's. Some common symptoms include bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, candida and even acne. The digestive process of protein starts in your stomach, so be on the look out for warning signs especially after eating a protein rich meal.
Try these tips if suspect you may have low stomach acid:
Chew, chew and then chew some more. Take your time eating meals. Relax, slow down and enjoy your meal. Eat smaller portions throughout the day and avoid drinking beverages within half an hour before meals. Also try to avoid drinking super cold water as it can cause your stomach to shrink. Take small sips of room temperature water or try a warming tea to aid in digestion.
Limit sugar and processed food. These foods rob your body of certain vitamins and minerals needed to produce proper amounts of hydrochloric acid. Stick to whole foods and increase your fiber intake. Include whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice and cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli.
Include fermented foods such as organic yogurt, kombucha or fermented veggies (sauerkraut, kimchi) to keep your gut nourished with good bacteria. You can also supplement with a good quality probiotic as well.
Supplement with digestive enzymes containing hydrochloric acid and pepsin during meals. This helps to breakdown your food so it is more easily absorbed. I always have one to help reduce bloating, especially if I am indulging or eating foods I don't normally have or that are very rich.
Drink apple cider vinegar (1-2 tablespoons) in half a cup of room temperature water half an hour before meals to stimulate stomach acid. This is one my top tips and I have had so many clients say what a difference this alone makes.
Watch how you are combining your foods. Avoid eating fruit and protein together. Combine protein sources with non starchy vegetable (think chicken and salad or salmon and asparagus). Fruit is best eaten alone. Improper food combining can cause fermentation in the gut leading to bloating and gas.
Include local honey in your diet. Honey is loaded with essential nutrients and enzymes to aid in digestion. Bonus points if you get manuka honey. It also has antibacterial properties helpful for the gut.
Eat foods high in zinc. Zinc is important for the production of hydrochloric acid and helps to enhance digestive enzymes. Zinc can be found in raw pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and chickpeas. Bonus: it good for your skin health too!
Try my favorite digestive tea. I love having this after dinner.
Soothing Digestive Tonic
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp turmeric
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Crack of black pepper
Optional: 1 tbsp honey
Combine all ingredients in a large mug and pour in hot water. Sip and enjoy!
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