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Food for Sensitive Stomach and Sensitive Stomach Diets

I am unable to digest heavy foods like paneer, grams, sweets etc. I have a very sensitive stomach. Kindly suggest some home remedies for sensitive stomach?

If you eat full fat paneer (cottage cheese) and gram flours roasted in more amount of fat then an stomach upset is bound to happen. Most of the sweets also are high in sugar, dairy fats and other fats so if you eat them in more amounts you will have digestion problem. If you like sweets, cottage cheese and dishes made from chick pea, you can still have them without any digestion problem. But for that you would need to modify these products and alter your cooking methods.

For example if you make cottage cheese at home from fat free milk and add little fat while preparing the cottage cheese, then it can be well digested without causing any stomach upset. Similarly if you roast chick pea flour on a low flame and then use it in different preparations with low amount of fat then it can be digested well. Also you can combine chick pea flour with other cereal flours like wheat flour or rice flour as these flours have low protein and fat and can be easily digested. If you like sweets then prefer using artificial sweetener and fat free dairy products in the preparations. Also keep one thing in mind; never overdo anything. Eat these foods in moderation if you have a sensitive stomach or have problems with digestion.


Sensitive Stomach Formula and Diet Tips for Sensitive Stomach

Following tips are to avoid indigestion for a sensitive stomach –

  • Eat slowly, never gulp down any food without chewing it thoroughly. Did you know that you need to chew each morsel at least 32 times before you gulp it down? If not then follow this rule while eating food.
  • If you have a sensitive stomach, consume small meals at regular intervals. Avoid eating too much food at one time; especially avoid a heavy fatty meal at dinner time.
  • Drink a lot of fluid in a day but avoid drinking too much fluid with your meals.
  • Avoid lying down or sleeping immediately after your meals. Keep at least a minimum gap of 2-3 hours between your meal time and sleeping time.
  • Include soluble fiber in your diet in the form of cooked beans, legumes, oatmeal, carrots, banana, papaya, mango, whole cereals and other whole fruits and vegetables.
  • If particular food cause indigestion or belching or bloating or flatulence then identify the triggers and avoid them. There are different foods that can cause indigestion, but one food may cause no problem in a person but may cause indigestion in others. If you have any gastrointestinal problem then consult a specialist for the same to know the exact cause for your sensitive stomach.


What is a sensitive stomach?

A sensitive stomach is not a disease, disorder or a condition; instead, a sensitive stomach can be described as a symptom of a deeper underlying cause. There are several conditions that could cause the stomach to become sensitive, which include gastrointestinal problems or even a weak immunity system. However, one of the most common causes of a sensitive stomach is not a serious one, as it mainly includes following an unhealthy diet, or eating foods that do not agree with a person’s digestive system. Some people suffer from a sensitive stomach right from the time that they are born, whereas others may develop this problem later on in life. Many people who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, eat unhealthy foods or lead a sedentary lifestyle tend to develop a sensitive stomach as time passes. There are some people who suffer from a chronic sensitive stomach, i.e., it is a long term problem; in others it could only last till a certain disease, disorder or condition lasts, after which the problem gets resolved on its own. This condition is also very common in elderly people, as the consumption of certain medication could weaken the stomach, leading to a sensitive stomach. Stress is another factor that has been known to result in the stomach becoming sensitive in many people.

There are many people who tend to confuse a sensitive stomach with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as the symptoms for both the conditions are alike. Moreover the consumption of certain foods can aggravate both the conditions. However, there are a few differences between IBS and a sensitive stomach. IBS is a serious gastrointestinal condition that could lead to several complications and needs to be treated as soon as possible. On the other hand a sensitive stomach is generally a symptom of IBS and other similar conditions. In most cases a sensitive stomach is not treated medically. Instead doctors and health experts normally recommend following a special sensitive stomach diet and the use of certain home remedies that can help increase the strength and the tolerance levels of the stomach.


Symptoms of a sensitive stomach

A sensitive stomach could be a chronic problem in some people, whereas in others, it could be a one off instance, caused by other underlying conditions. Unfortunately, if a person develops a sensitive stomach suddenly, due to a hectic lifestyle of unhealthy eating habits, it could take him or her a while to figure out the exact problem as the symptoms of a sensitive stomach are very similar to those that are associated with other problems that are related to the digestive system. Some of the most common symptoms that are associated with a sensitive stomach are:

•    Excessive gas, which leads to belching and flatulence  
•    Bloating in the abdominal area
•    Severe pain and cramps in the stomach
•    Diarrhea or even constipation
•    Acidity or heartburn
•    Nausea
•    Wheezing

These symptoms may be evident mainly when certain foods are consumed and the person may feel just fine during the other times.

Treatment for a sensitive stomach

There is no specific treatment that is followed to cure a sensitive stomach. However, doctors may suggest certain over the counter medication to relieve some of the symptoms of the problem. Health experts may also recommend certain medication or home remedies that can help strengthen the stomach, which can reduce the problem of stomach sensitivity to a great extent. People who have a sensitive stomach should identify the food types and the foods that cause unfavorable symptoms, so that they can be avoided. Many a times, it is not the foods that cause the problem, but the cooking methods. For example, a person may be able to eat steamed or grilled food, but if the exact same foods are fried, they could disagree with his or her digestive system. Hence, more than following a diet for sensitive stomach, it is important to make certain healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.


Food for sensitive stomach

While the right sensitive stomach foods may vary for different people, there are certain foods that have a soothing effect on the stomach and can therefore help reduce the problems and symptoms caused by a sensitive stomach. Studies indicate that some of the most well tolerated foods for sensitive stomach are:

•    Fruits: Peaches, blueberries, kiwi, papaya, mango, strawberries, bananas, apricots, nectarine, avocado, honeydew melon, watermelon and cantaloupe  
•    Beans: Legumes and cooked lentils
•    Vegetables: Carrots, yams, potatoes (mashed), broccoli (cooked), cauliflower (cooked) and celery  
•    Cereals and grains: Oatmeal, rice, whole wheat pasta and most breakfast cereals
•    Dairy products: Plain low fat yogurt and skim or low fat milk
•    Meat and eggs: Shrimp, egg whites, chicken soup, skinless grilled chicken or turkey  
•    Beverages: Water, chamomile tea and ginger tea

At the same time there are several foods that irritate a sensitive stomach and therefore, they should be strictly avoided. Foods that are generally not included in a sensitive stomach diet are:

•    Fried foods
•    Onion
•    Garlic
•    Large seeds and nuts
•    Crude fiber (Bell pepper and skin of the eggplant)
•    Monosodium glutamate
•    Coffee or other caffeinated beverages
•    Aerated drinks
•    Sweets and artificial sugar

Apart from following a diet for sensitive stomach, there are several other tips that can help alleviate the problem. It is absolutely essential to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day; however, fluids should not be consumed too close to meals. Food should be eaten slowly, where each bite is chewed around 32 times before it is swallowed. Instead of eating three large meals, most people are advised to eat 5 to six smaller meals each day. Lying down or sleeping, soon after meals, is a strict no-no, as it could lead to several stomach problems. Hence, everybody is generally advised to keep a gap of at least 2 to 3 hours, between meals and bedtime.

People who are suffering from any preexisting medical condition should check with their doctors before making any dietary changes to suit their sensitive stomach.

Submitted on January 16, 2014