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Stomach Irritants

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

How and why they should be avoided:

An inflamed and overworked stomach is so common that you rarely see one totally free from irritation. Many people use a large variety of common stomach irritants.

An inflamed stomach produces many problems. The body can lessen the toxic effects of chemical overload, but injuries are common and lead to accelerated aging. Because of the biochemical injury of the cells from the disordered chemistry, a tax is placed on the body which eventually results in wearing down the life forces. The tax on the digestive organs draws energy from the nervous system, giving the person less mental energy for perception, discernment, and decision. Americans have more peptic ulcers than any other people. The way we live promotes ulcers. The three most common causes of peptic ulcers are alcohol, aspirin, and vinegar. These irritate the lining of the stomach and cause gastritis. The irritation leads to overproduction of pepsin and hydrochloric acid which taxes and weakens the stomach.

Hot pepper has been shown to cause hemorrhaging of the stomach. Some additional spices which are irritating to the stomach are ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, caraway, all spice, vinegar, and anything made with vinegar, baking soda, and baking powder products. The putrefying, fermenting, or rotting in processing results in the production of amines, ammonia, and irritating acids. One of the toxic amines produced in cheese causes migraine headaches. An intolerance to lactose, the chief carbohydrate of cheese and milk, is probably the most common food sensitivity in America.

Caffeine, nicotine, and chocolate have been associated with chromosome damage and deformation in the children of those who use them, and cancer is more common to those who use these irritants. The effects begin shortly after taking the drink or taste and last for almost 4 hours. Some of the symptoms are irritability, imperfect balance, rapid heart beat, insomnia, fatigue, headache, restlessness, depression, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Over 90% of the American population use caffeine. The decaffeinated have more harmful substances than the caffeinated.

All of these substances are irritating. If we put mustard on the skin, it will make the skin red, and in a little time raise a blister. If we happen to get a little pepper in the eye, it makes it become irritated, very red, and inflamed. When we take these things into the stomach, they cause the stomach to be irritated, and its living membrane becomes red, just as the skin or eye does.

Now some of the other causes of irritation

Drinking with meals: Digestion and stomach emptying are both delayed. Stagnation in the stomach is one of the most common causes of ulcers and gastritis.

Late evening meals: When you have meals late in the evening and then go to bed, as soon as you fall asleep, the digestive juices stop secreting. Without these to digest the food it begins fermenting. Digestion must labor with difficulty through the night. Your body will exert enough energy to digest your food during the night to make you feel tired when you wake up. Also, late evening meals contribute to eating too much. Most people could get by very well with 1/2 to 2/3 less than they presently consume. In connection with eating too much is crowding meals closer together than 4 hours. The reason is that the liver can generate only 1/2 of the bile needed for a big meal. This is enough to handle 2 hours of digestion. Eating closer together than 4 hours and eating between meals disturbs the bile cycle.

Very few people chew their food adequately. Large chunks of food require a lot of strong digestive juice to break them into small enough particles to be sent to the small intestine. If we swallow food before it is thoroughly ground and mixed, the stomach is burdened and indigestion results. Many stomach complaints and much overweight could be avoided by taking small bites and chewing well.

The treatment for an irritated stomach is very simple. A better way than to treat the symptom only is to actually find and remove the cause. Begin with correcting the lifestyle. Avoid the stomach irritants such as mentioned earlier. Regularity in all things is essential. Treat the stomach to a regular schedule for meals for it will greatly lessen its workload.

Chewing the food well. A centenarian was asked what she felt was the reason for her living to be very old. She replied that she never ate when she was not hungry, and she chewed her food until it became a cream in her mouth before she swallowed. No better advice could be given. If eating were controlled by hunger, and one stopped eating when hunger was satisfied, and if one would train the body to wait for food for 5 or more hours after the end of the last meal, the individual would have a lot more strength and vitality.

Don't drink with meals because this dilutes the acid and slows digestion. Drink only water in between meals and your stomach won't mistake thirst for hunger. Get plenty of sunshine and fresh air as this will help in digestion and make it easier for the stomach. We can help digestion by mild physical activity after meals, such as working in the garden, working in a hobby shop, or by taking a nice stroll outside. Be regular with sleeping hours and your body won't be so tired. In all that you do be temperate. Temperance is the one law that holds all the others together. But above everything you've got to trust God to help you accomplish these changes, because without His help it could be unbearable, but if you ask, He will help you. Phil. 4:13 says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So it is possible.

By following the eight laws of health, it will be a great benefit and may even cure you.

There is also hydrotherapy. Hot compresses over the abdomen can be helpful. Our book, Home Remedies, contains many different types of hydrotherapy and how to do them. Take charcoal tablets or capsules to adsorb the toxic products of the previous overload and indigestion. For children with an upset stomach, catnip tea is good. Millet and aloe vera are good soothers and healers of the gastrointestinal tract.

God has given us such simple ways to help ourselves. Our bodies are composed of what we eat. If we eat harmful foods, our bodies will be made out of poor material and not be able to do its work well. Just like if you want good quality clothes you want good quality material. It also has to be made the right way or it will fall apart. The body works in the same way. I pray that God will help us in any way that we need.

A List:

  • Hot pepper (black or red), and spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg).
  • Vinegar and anything made with vinegar (pickles, mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, etc.)
  • Foods having a fermenting, putrefying, or rotting phase in processing, such as sauerkraut, cheese, soy sauce, and similar products.
  • Baking soda, baking powder products, all commercial crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and other bakery products.
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas), nicotine, theobromine (chocolate).
  • Drinking with meals. Digestion and stomach emptying are both delayed. Beverages, soups, juices, and milks should all be avoided. Stagnation in the stomach is one of the commonest causes of ulcers and gastritis. Further, milk contains much lactose, the milk sugar that produces fermentation and production of irritating toxic chemicals. Milk is the cause of more food sensitivity than any other food item.
  • Late evening meals.
  • Eating too much. Most people could get by very well with one-half to two-thirds less than they presently consume.
  • Chewing too little. Eating too fast. Bites too large; use one-third forkfuls or one-third spoonfuls.
  • Foods rich with refined sugar, refined oils, vitamin and mineral preparations, or concentrated proteins such as heavy meat substitutes and dried milk products. The more concentrated the food, the more likely to irritate the stomach.
  • Eating fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Foods that contain combinations of milk and eggs, milk and sugar, or eggs and sugar.
  • Unripe or overripe fruit.
  • Foods that are taken while they are too hot or too cold.
  • Crowding meals closer together than five hours.

For more information, contact:

Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875

Tel. 334-855-4764