A Healthy Stomach Makes Food Taste Better

Healthy Stomach Makes Food Taste Better

“Stress can aggravate stomach problems,” says Dr. Shahid Rasool a gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Shifa International Hospital Faisalabad


What is the importance of a healthy stomach? 

Proper digestion is important for a healthy stomach. Your digestive system breaks nutrients into small parts to be absorbed and used for energy, growth, and cell repairing.

Any tips for a healthy stomach?

Though there are no specific tips, eating healthy and exercising regularly can help in keeping the stomach fit. Exercise releases unwanted and harmful elements from the body. Moreover, increase your water intake. Avoid fizzy drinks, oily foods, and excess spices. Prefer white meat over red meat, especially if you suffer a health issue specifically related to the heart. Otherwise eating a small portion of red meat two to three times a week is alright. 

What kind of gastric diseases are common in Pakistan?

Hepatitis is alarmingly high in the country. Peptic ulcers, diarrhea, TB of the small intestine, and gaseous problems are also common. Moreover, over-the-counter painkillers are a major cause of stomach ulcers.

What precautionary measures should be taken to prevent gastric diseases in the summer?

Firstly, drink clean and safe water. There is an unhealthy trend in our country that while traveling, people prefer to drink and eat from roadside hotels and vendors. This is a risky behavior as most lack the concept of hygiene. Dirty utensils are continuously dipped into a tub filled with contaminated and reused water. Food is then served in so-called “washed crockery” which becomes a cause of Hepatitis A, E, and some diarrheal diseases. People associated with preparing and serving food should be educated about hand washing, crockery washing, and the protection of foods from bees, dust, and other harmful elements.  

Why does heartburn occur?

Heartburn is basically an acidity of the stomach that usually occurs because of our eating habits. Overeating, eating without hunger, untimely meals, and spicy and fat-rich foods are some basic reasons which cause the problem. Junk foods also provide easy ground for heartburn.


Which foods should be avoided to prevent acidity?

Avoid foods that aggravate acidity in the stomach. These include tea, coffee, chocolates, tobacco, paan, chaliya, gutka, soft drinks, and citrus fruits. The more you avoid them the less acid will be produced in the stomach.


What is the cause of a stomach ulcer?

Approximately 90 percent of people suffering from gastric issues are affected by H Pylori bacteria. which occurs because of poor hygiene and contaminated water. When this bacterium goes into the stomach, it infects it and causes ulcers. A healthy and clean environment and food have a great role in preventing this disease. Ulcer patients may experience severe pain in the stomach and have reduced appetite. Vomiting with blood and black stool are also other symptoms.

Are home remedies effective in treating ulcers? 

Some patients drink a mixture of one portion of milk with three portions of water on an empty stomach. Because milk is alkaline in nature it neutralizes the acid in the stomach and relieves the patient from acidity and pain in the stomach. However, home remedies are not a substitute for regular treatment. 

Why does the belly bloat?

Our stomach usually bloats or swells after taking a meal. But it can bloat otherwise as well. 

People with weak muscles like diabetic patients, obese, and people with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to suffer from this problem. Immediately going to bed after a meal can also cause bloating. Regular exercise or walk after a meal can help control it. Medicines help increase gut movement which results in fast digestion and stopping the belly from bloat.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? 

Irritable bowel syndrome is the sensitivity of the gut which is the response of the intestine against stress. It is of two types. One has symptoms of diarrhea and the other has constipation. People who suffer from this condition have a hypersensitive gut which can be triggered easily. Common symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both.  One can take control over these symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Otherwise, consult a specialist as IBS is a chronic disease. Medicines can help control the problem. 

What are the common causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition where stomach acid persistently and regularly flows up into the food pipe. Random acid reflux is quite common, it often occurs as a result of overeating, lying down after eating, or sometimes eating particular foods. Nonetheless, recurrent acid reflux, diagnosed as GERD, typically has other causes and risk factors. It occurs when the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus becomes weak, or opens when it should not.

Who is at risk of experiencing this condition?

GERD occurs more commonly in people who are: overweight or obese because of increased pressure on the abdomen. Pregnant women, due to the same increased pressure. Patients who are on certain medications, including asthma, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, sedatives, and antidepressants can also suffer from the problem. Smokers or passive smokers may also experience it. 


Which foods and habits can ruin the stomach?

Fat, rich, and over-fried foods can have bad effects on the stomach. The majority of people do not eat a balanced diet. For example, an average person’s meal comprises more cereals like wheat and rice as compared to meat and vegetables. In a healthy diet, these things should be in a balanced proportion. Meals prepared with the Chinese method are healthier. As far as habits are concerned, some people eat their favorite foods in large portions. This should be avoided. Also, avoid going to bed immediately after taking a meal. Moreover, overuse of painkillers is highly damaging to the stomach. They should only be taken only with a doctor’s advice.

How can constipation be prevented?

Nowadays, constipation is as common a problem as excessive weight. The absence of fiber in our diets is a major cause. Processed and refined foods are also responsible for it. People usually do not take enough salads and vegetables which results in less fiber consumption and eventually results in constipation. 

How can we avoid common stomach problems?

Take timely meals. Diets should be simple and easily digestible. Avoid taking rich, fried, and spicy foods. Include vegetables and salads instead. If you are facing a liver or stomach problem, consult the concerned doctor immediately.

What is the role of green tea indigestion? What is the right time to take it?

Green tea is a healthy drink and is rich in antioxidants. It helps in digesting the food so it is better to have it after a meal.

Do depression and anxiety affect the stomach and cause indigestion? 

Anxiety is not a direct cause though it does indirectly affect it. Stress or anxiety aggravates the symptoms in people with stomach problems particularly patients with gas problems, dysphasia, or irritable bowl. 

Why do hiccups occur?

A hiccup is a sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle. When the muscle spasms, the vocal cords snap shut, producing the hiccup sound. Common causes of hiccups include eating too quickly and eating or drinking too much.

Are there any home remedies for hiccups?

Holding your breath, drinking a glass of water quickly, biting on a lemon, gargling with water, and smelling salts can help relieve the problem.

Is burping a sign of a full stomach?

A burp is nothing but gas. When you eat or drink, you do not just swallow food or liquid but also swallow air at the same time. Sometimes eating or drinking too fast can send extra air into the stomach and cause indigestion, which can make a person burp.