The stomach is a muscular, sac-like organ, located on the left side of the upper abdomen. It is a part of the gastrointestinal system (also known as the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system or gut).
The gastrointestinal system is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum.
Your stomach primarily performs 3 main functions. It acts as temporary storage for food, which passes from the esophagus (the tube connecting the throat with the stomach) to the stomach, where it is held for about 2 hours.
The food is then mixed and broken down by the contraction and relaxation of the muscle layers in the stomach. The glands in the stomach lining produce hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes that break down the food into a thick, acidic, soupy mixture, called chyme. This process is known as the digestion of food.
Once the food is broken down, it is ready to be absorbed by your body. The stomach slowly empties the contents, the chyme, into your small intestine, where most of the absorption of nutrients and minerals happens.
Importance of a Healthy Stomach
Maintaining a healthy stomach is of prime importance to your overall health. A healthy stomach ensures a strong immune system, improved heart health, brain health, good mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent certain autoimmune diseases (diseases in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissues).
Here are six tips and remedies towards attaining a healthy stomach, that can help you lead a healthy lifestyle:
1. Jal jeera to calm your stomach down. When you're feeling slightly nauseated (a symptom of stomach discomfort along with the sensation of vomiting), owing to any problems in your alimentary gut, it's always a good idea to drink a glass of jal jeera.
It is usually prepared with a mixture of roasted cumin (jeera) seeds and carom (ajwain) powder, that balances the pH level of your stomach and normalizes it. The powerful anti gas and antiinflammatory properties in jeera also help relieve acidity and bloating.
The pH level is a measure of the acidity of an aqueous solution. In this case, it is the measure of the acidity of your stomach. The pH of your stomach varies, but its natural state is between 1.5 and 3.5.
2. Adequate hydration for smooth digestion. For your stomach to function properly, it is important to stay hydrated and drink water regularly. This also ensures a smooth digestive process as it lubricates the bolus (a portion of food chewed internally).
Consume copper-infused water as much as possible. Studies claim that drinking water stored in a copper vessel could improve your immune system and aid digestion.
Copper water refers to the water put in a copper container. When water is stored in a copper vessel or bottle, for eight hours or more, copper releases some of its ions in the water.
Copper is known to have antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that help in keeping your stomach healthy.
3. Avoid sleeping flat on your stomach, especially after your dinner. After having your dinner, make sure you remain active for at least an hour or more. Avoid lying flat on your stomach while sleeping, as it hinders the digestive process by putting the weight of your body on your stomach.
This can cause stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus, causing symptoms of heartburn (acid reflux) or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). Thus, it is advisable to not lie down immediately and walk for about 10 to 15 minutes after your dinner.
4. Concept of Shadrasa for a balanced diet. Shadrasa refers to the rule of ayurvedic dietetics that suggests incorporating all six fundamental tastes into your diet. These six tastes are madhura or sweet, amla or sour, lavana or salty, katu or pungent, tikta or bitter, and kashaya or astringent (slightly acidic or bitter). These six tastes contribute to a variety of body processes and maintain a balance in your doshas.
In ayurveda, each individual is born with 5 elements of nature which are Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Space. The balance of these elements is known as dosha.
Shadrasa takes care of your digestive system, ensuring a healthy stomach.
5. Eat your meals regularly, and ideally at the same time every day. Eating your meals as per a regular schedule keeps your digestive system in shape. All your body functions work in a rhythm.
When you do not eat your meals on time, it will result in digestive disorders, leading to stomach aches, acidity, indigestion, and hampered routine activities.
Eat breakfast within two hours of getting up. Delaying your breakfast will slow down your body’s metabolism and reduce your energy levels. Metabolism is the sum total of all chemical reactions taking place in your body that provides you with the energy to carry out routine tasks.
You should eat your lunch between 12 pm to 2 pm. Your body’s digestive capacity is at a peak at that time and a nutritious meal will help absorb nutrients and minerals adequately.
Maintain a gap of at least 4 hours between lunch and dinner. Eat dinner close to sunset or latest by 8 pm. Make sure to stay active after dinner and do not go off to sleep immediately.
6. Overindulgence in spicy foods can upset your stomach. Spicy foods are high in acidic content and can cause various stomach ailments. Depending on the sensitivity of your stomach, too much spicy food can irritate the inner layers of your stomach, resulting in acid reflux, gastritis, loss of appetite, and indigestion.
Always opt for a nutritionally balanced meal without making it too spicy.
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.