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If You Want To Improve Your Overall Health, Take Care Of Your Stomach Acid First

If You Want To Improve Your Overall Health, Take Care Of Your Stomach Acid First

We all have times in our lives when we get unexplained symptoms that come on either gradually or suddenly and many of us choose to ignore them in the hope they’ll just get better, or self-medicate to make them go away. While this can get rid of many short-term ailments, it puts us in the danger of failing to find out the real cause of our health problems.

Getting to the bottom of our health problems is the key to long-term well-being and quality of life. While we may just dismiss symptoms, self-diagnose and tide ourselves over with medicinal cures, there is one common underlying cause to many health problems which is often overlooked and that is having low stomach acid or alkalosis.

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Many symptoms can stem from having alkalosis. Treating this source can potentially clear up many health issues someone may have but are not sure the reasons why they have them.

The Common Misconceptions about Stomach Acid

Stomach acid gets a bad reputation because we are often led to think too much acid in the body is bad. While this is true in many ways, the acid in our stomachs is vital for maintaining healthy digestive systems, breaking down our foods and passing the nutrients into our bodies as well as killing unwanted bacteria and yeast found naturally in the foods we eat. Therefore, it’s crucial for the acid levels to be just right in order to allow ourselves to be at optimal health and this is usually a pH range of approximately 1.5 to 3.0.

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Low Stomach Acid Leads to Indigestion and Heart Burn

Low stomach acid is a phenomenon of the developed world with nearly 90% of Americans producing too little stomach acid for optimal digestion. When alkalosis starts occurring, the hydrogen needed for stomach acid (or hydrochloric acid) starts to become depleted which, in turn, lowers the stomach acid further. Problems such as indigestion or heartburn can be a result of too little stomach acid rather than the common misconception that it’s caused by too much. Alkaline solutions are then used such as popular antacid or heartburn medicine that only adds to the high alkaline levels in the stomach and are a surefire way to continually cause problems for our bodies in maintaining the right pH levels.

Stomach Acid Affects How Well You Can Get Nutrients from Foods

Many people with a nutrient deficiency will understandably assume that they eat insufficient amounts of a certain food group or consume the wrong foods but the true reason could well be they are unable to digest foods properly and get the needed nutrients because of low stomach acid. HCL’s function is to break down the proteins and the essential amino acids and nutrients that the body needs so it makes sense that when the stomach is low on acid it means less nutrient efficiency.

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If You Don’t Maintain Your Stomach Acid At A Healthy Level, These Health Issues May Appear…

There are many health issues that come from the stomach’s inability to process food properly and can cause a domino effect for other areas of the body. These can translate to digestive problems, mental health problems such as depression and feelings of lethargy to other issues such as acne, hair loss in women, osteoporosis, diarrhea, constipation, chronic fatigue, bloating and dry skin.

The Causes of Low Stomach Acid

Apart from over-consumption of antacid or acid blockers as mentioned before, one of the main causes of low stomach acid is high amounts of sugar in the diet. High sugar intake depletes minerals and promotes bad bacteria growth that blocks absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

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Eating a poor diet full of processed foods also puts a strain on your stomach acid production, lack of proper vitamins and minerals, stress, drinking too much liquid with meals and candida (high levels of yeast in the digestive tract) can cause low stomach acid in your body.

How Do I Maintain A Good Stomach Acid Level?

Making sure you stick to a good eating routine and following a consistently healthy diet will help support your body in its stomach acid production. Here are some suggestions that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will promote a healthy pH level in the stomach. It’s important to consult a doctor before you drastically change a diet but try following some of these to see if it makes a difference to your health issues.

  • Eliminate refined sugars: these put a strain on the production of acid.
  • Eat unprocessed, organic foods: this allows the body to work with natural foods it can deal with.
  • Avoid drinking too much liquid at meals: this can dilute the stomach acid and make it hard for your food to digest properly.
  • Take a multivitamin: this will go towards helping stomach acid production.
  • Make sure you chew food properly: this helps the digestive enzymes in the mouth to combine with the food and make it digestible-friendly.
  • Avoid overeating and eat smaller meals: this stops the stomach becoming too inundated and putting stress on the stomach acid to do its job.
  • Eat unpasteurised probiotic foods: this promotes good gut bacteria.
  • Add apple cider vinegar to your diet: ACV has a naturally low pH level and will help with acid levels, just don’t go overboard with it!
  • Increase zinc intake: zinc is critical for the production of stomach acid and, to give your body a better chance, consuming more vitamin C, E, B6, and minerals such as magnesium can increase zinc absorption.
  • Avoid snacking in between meals: this allows adequate time for your food to be digested without added stress of more food.

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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