Food is a big part of our lives. We use it to nourish ourselves, but also enjoy it as part of socializing with friends and family. It makes us happy and brings people together. But sometimes, the food we eat, fights back. If you regularly experience discomfort when eating, then you know what we’re talking about – indigestion. Don’t let it take over your life, here are a few tips to help you!

The technical term for indigestion is dyspepsia. It refers to a pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen, which usually occurs after a meal. Other symptoms typically include bloating, heartburn, belching, or an acidic taste in the mouth. While the root cause of these symptoms can be traced back to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), or even ulcers, much of it is caused by lifestyle factors. In other words, the type of foods you eat, how much alcohol you consume, whether you smoke, and stress can all have an effect.

Luckily, there are quite a few changes you can make. Try these and see what works for you!

Eat smaller meals. This gives your stomach enough time to digest meals, and you won’t feel as bloated.

Eat slowly and chew your food properly. Not only does the physical breaking down of the food make for easier digestion, but your mouth also releases more saliva. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes, which further improve the digestive process.

Chew with your mouth closed. Besides it being good manners, it will also prevent you from swallowing too much air, which in turn, can make you bloated.

Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits, especially if you are prone to heartburn.

Avoid greasy foods. Your body takes longer to process fats, which could lead to bloating.

In addition to lifestyle changes, you can also try these tips:

Peppermint oil could be useful in relieving gas and bloating. It helps to relax the stomach, which relieves gut spasms. You can buy peppermint capsules, use peppermint essential oil to massage your belly, and even try peppermint tea. It’s important to note that if you experience acid reflux, you should not use peppermint. It relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which can cause stomach acid to flow back into the throat, worsening reflux symptoms.

Fennel tea is a popular natural remedy for indigestion, and will help to alleviate stomach cramps, nausea, and bloating. Add ½ tsp crushed fennel seeds to boiling water. Allow it to steep for 10 min before drinking it.

Probiotics (either in pill-form or foods like sauerkraut and yoghurt) can alleviate symptoms of indigestion. Also make sure to include enough fiber in your diet, and drink lots of water.

If these tips don’t work, then you should consult with a medical professional.