5 Food Indigestion Causes You Probably Didn't Know

  • Up to 70% of patients with functional dyspepsia have food allergies or sensitivities (1).
  • Stress was found to be a significant risk factor for functional dyspepsia (2).
  • Treating SIBO improved the symptoms and signs of functional dyspepsia. (3)

food indigestion causes

Do you feel bloated after eating? You might be having indigestion from food. Numerous factors, including overeating and eating particular foods, can contribute to this widespread but uncomfortable condition. But there are some factors that you might not be aware of that contribute to food indigestion. There are many things that can cause food indigestion, from eating too quickly to feeling stressed. Here is a look at some surprising food indigestion causes you might not know to help you better understand this condition.

Symptoms of Food Indigestion

Several unpleasant symptoms make up the condition known as food indigestion. Bloating, nausea, pain in the abdomen, belching, and gas are some of these symptoms. These symptoms can range in severity from quite mild to quite severe. Food indigestion occasionally even triggers vomiting. You should seek medical help as soon as you can if you are displaying any of these symptoms.

Causes of Food Indigestion

There are a variety of potential causes of food indigestion. Here are some of the most common causes of this condition:

1. Eating Too Fast and Too Much

Eating too fast and too much can cause indigestion by putting a strain on the digestive system and interfering with the body's natural digestive processes. When you eat too quickly, you may not chew your food enough, which can make it harder for the stomach to break down and digest. Eating too much can also overload the digestive system, causing it to work harder and take longer to process the food.

When you eat too quickly and too much, you may also swallow more air, which can lead to bloating and discomfort. Additionally, eating large meals can cause the stomach to expand, putting pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that controls the flow of food from the esophagus into the stomach. This pressure can cause the LES to relax, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, leading to heartburn and indigestion.

To avoid indigestion caused by eating too fast and too much, it's recommended to eat slowly and mindfully, chewing your food thoroughly and taking breaks between bites. Additionally, eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day rather than one large meal can help reduce the strain on the digestive system and improve digestion. Drinking water with your meals can also help aid digestion and prevent overeating.

2. Eating Too Close To Bedtime

Eating too soon before bed can aggravate indigestion by interfering with the digestive process and raising the possibility of acid reflux. When you eat, your body starts to break down the food into smaller pieces so that the body can absorb them. The release of digestive enzymes and the contraction of the digestive system's muscles are two steps in this lengthy process.

When you lie down after eating, gravity can no longer help keep stomach acid and food particles in the stomach. This can lead to acid reflux, a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and indigestion. Eating a large meal close to bedtime can also cause bloating and discomfort as the stomach works to digest the food while you're lying down.

To avoid indigestion caused by eating too close to bedtime, it's recommended to wait at least 2-3 hours after eating before lying down. This allows time for the digestive process to take place and reduces the risk of acid reflux. Additionally, eating smaller, lighter meals and avoiding foods that are high in fat or spicy may also help reduce the risk of indigestion at night.

3. Drinking Carbonated Beverages

Drinking carbonated beverages can cause food indigestion by introducing gas into the digestive system. Carbonated beverages contain dissolved carbon dioxide gas, which can lead to increased gas production in the stomach and intestines. This can cause bloating, discomfort, and feelings of fullness.

You experience bloating and a feeling of fullness after consuming carbonated beverages because the gas in your stomach is released. This may also lead to stomach expansion, which could put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle that regulates the passage of food from the oesophagus into the stomach. Heartburn and indigestion can result from the LES relaxing as a result of this pressure, which can also cause other digestive problems.

In addition to carbonated beverages, high-fiber foods like beans, lentils, broccoli, and onions can also cause gas in the body. Reduce your intake of carbonated beverages and other gas-producing foods if you frequently experience indigestion or bloating to see if it helps.

4. Smoking

Smoking can aggravate the stomach lining and increase the production of stomach acid, which can lead to indigestion from food. Nicotine, which is inhaled during smoking, stimulates the production of stomach acid. Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest or throat brought on by stomach acid flowing back into the oesophagus, can result from this increase in stomach acid.

Smoking can aggravate and enflame the lining of the stomach as well. This can lead to gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting are all possible symptoms of gastroritis. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle that controls food passage from the oesophagus into the stomach, can suffer damage from smoking over time. Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing heartburn and indigestion.

Smoking can increase the risk of peptic ulcers, digestive cancers, and other digestive issues in addition to causing indigestion. Quitting smoking may help with symptoms and overall digestive health if you smoke and experience frequent indigestion or other digestive issues.

5. Stress

Stress can cause indigestion by reducing blood flow to the digestive system, increasing stomach acid production, tightening the muscles in the digestive system, and altering the balance of gut bacteria. Cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that your body releases in response to stress, can have a tangible impact on your digestive system. Even though not everyone who is stressed will experience indigestion, it is still important to look into stress-reduction techniques like exercise, meditation, or therapy to help manage symptoms if you frequently experience indigestion under stressful circumstances.

Indigestion vs. Heartburn vs. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning, indigestion, and heartburn are all conditions that can make the digestive system uncomfortable, but they each have unique causes and signs.

Dyspepsia, another name for indigestion, is a general term for upper abdominal pain or discomfort that is frequently accompanied by bloating, nausea, and a sense of fullness. A number of things, such as eating too much or too quickly, eating foods high in fat or spice, stress, and smoking, can lead to indigestion.

A burning sensation in the chest or throat is caused by stomach acid flowing back into the oesophagus, which is a form of indigestion known as heartburn. Eating specific foods, lying down right after eating, or being overweight can all cause heartburn.

Contrarily, consuming food or beverages contaminated with dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites results in food poisoning. Food poisoning symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal pain. Numerous things, such as improper food handling, storage, or preparation, can result in food poisoning.

In general, making lifestyle changes like eating smaller, more frequent meals, staying away from foods that trigger heartburn, and avoiding lying down after meals can help manage indigestion and heartburn. However, food poisoning frequently necessitates medical attention and treatment, especially if it is severe or persists for a long time. It's critical to get medical help right away if you think you might have food poisoning in order to stop the infection from spreading to others.

How to Prevent Food Indigestion

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent food indigestion. Here are some tips to help you avoid this uncomfortable condition:

  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly
  • Avoid eating late at night
  • Avoid drinking carbonated beverages
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid processed and fatty foods
  • Get regular exercise


1. What foods cause indigestion the most?

Certain foods can cause indigestion, including spicy and high-fat foods, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, carbonated beverages, coffee and tea, and onions and garlic. These foods can irritate the stomach lining, relax the lower esophageal sphincter, increase stomach acid production, and increase gas in the stomach, leading to discomfort, bloating, and heartburn. However, everyone's digestive system is different, and what causes indigestion in one person may not affect another. It's important to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you experience frequent or severe indigestion to help identify any trigger foods and develop a plan to manage your symptoms.

2. What type of food causes indigestion at night?

Eating certain types of foods close to bedtime can increase the likelihood of experiencing indigestion at night. These include:

  • High-fat foods: Foods that are high in fat, such as fried foods, can take longer to digest and may cause discomfort and bloating, especially when eaten close to bedtime.

  • Spicy foods: Spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, which can be exacerbated when lying down.

  • Citrus fruits and juices: Citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges and grapefruits, are acidic and can cause heartburn and indigestion.

  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and other compounds that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

  • Carbonated beverages: Carbonated beverages can increase the amount of gas in the stomach, causing discomfort and bloating.

It's generally recommended to avoid eating large meals or heavy snacks close to bedtime to prevent indigestion and promote better sleep. If you must eat something before bed, opt for a small, light snack that is low in fat and easy to digest, such as a piece of fruit or a few crackers.

3. What food causes indigestion to go away?

While there isn't one specific food that can cure indigestion, some foods and beverages may help alleviate symptoms. These include:

  • Ginger: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the stomach and alleviate nausea and bloating.

  • Peppermint: Peppermint has been shown to have a calming effect on the stomach and can help relieve indigestion and abdominal pain.

  • Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties that can help relax the muscles in the digestive tract and reduce inflammation and bloating.

  • Plain yogurt: Plain yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation in the gut.

  • Bananas: Bananas are easy to digest and can help neutralize stomach acid, which can help alleviate heartburn and indigestion.

It's important to note that everyone's digestive system is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you experience frequent or severe indigestion, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to help identify any trigger foods and develop a plan to manage your symptoms.


Indigestion brought on by food can be painful and uncomfortable. There are some causes of food indigestion that you might not be aware of, even though it can be brought on by eating too much or certain foods. Food indigestion can be caused by a number of things, including eating too quickly, processed foods, and smoking. Fortunately, you can take precautions to avoid this condition. You can prevent the uncomfortable effects of indigestion caused by food by paying attention to the above suggestions.

Enjoy reading? Check out this related article: 12 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux That You Should Know

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  1. Park, J. M., Choi, M. G., & Cho, Y. K. (2013). Prevalence of food allergy and intolerance in Korean patients with functional dyspepsia. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 19(1), 70–77. https://doi.org/10.5056/jnm.2013.19.1.70
  2. Talley, N. J., Walker, M. M., Holtmann, G. J., & Gastroenterological Society of Australia. (2015). Functional dyspepsia. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 60(9), 2625–2633. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-015-3764-2
  3. Khoshini, R., Dai, S. C., & Lezcano, S. (2008). A systematic review of diagnostic tests for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 53(6), 1443–1454. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-007-0065-1


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