Beyond the discomfort and disruption to your lifestyle and routines, problems with your gut and digestion are a big deal for overall health. After all, you need a smooth functioning digestive system to optimally absorb your nutrients, fuel and detoxify your body, maintain your energy, and experience normal bowel movements.
Also, scientists now understand that the communication between your gut and your brain is critical for physical, mental, and emotional health. The messages that are transmitted keep your gut environment in balance and thus keep your tummy in prime condition.
That’s where aloe vera comes into the picture.
People have been enjoying the health benefits of the aloe vera plant for about 5,000 years. Yet it’s only been in recent decades that researchers have extensively studied and reported on why this succulent is so helpful. Aloe vera is rich in nutrients—more than 200, in fact—including vitamins A, C, and E as well as B vitamins, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, and much more.
How Does Aloe Vera Help Heartburn and Indigestion?
Aloe vera has an ability to enhance digestion and improve absorption of nutrients. One reason for these benefits is the presence of two specific enzymes: amylase, which metabolizes sugars and starches; and lipase, which helps break down fats. These processes help keep your stomach and intestinal environments in balance.
The presence of a polysaccharide called acemannan is a major component in assisting digestive health. Acemannan is a unique compound among all aloe plants and is mainly responsible for the health benefits of aloe vera. It is found only in the inner leaf of the plant, which is why it’s important to only purchase products that contain the inner leaf of the aloe vera.
Another way aloe vera helps keep your stomach in balance is by working to harmonize pH levels throughout the body. This assists in reducing irritation and inflammation and promotes the healing of cells that have been damaged by acid reflux.
One more benefit of aloe vera for digestion is that it promotes a healthy intestinal flora by supporting the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that live in the gut. Probiotics are living microorganisms that need to be nourished to thrive. Aloe vera provides nutrition for these gut bacteria.
How to Use Aloe Vera for Heartburn and Indigestion
You can take aloe vera in several forms. One is to drink it as a juice (organic is recommended). Choose aloe vera juice that has been made from the inner leaf only or a whole leaf product that is verified to be free of aloin. The substance aloin can have a laxative effect. You can also find aloe water and aloe powders.
Use aloe vera products as recommended by the manufacturer or by your healthcare provider based on your specific needs and health situation.
Of course, your food choices are a major factor in whether you will experience indigestion or heartburn. Besides eating aloe vera, you should avoid or limit foods known to cause or contribute to these digestive issues, such as spicy foods, alcohol, fatty foods, and many processed foods.
This, along with eating aloe vera, can go a long way to maintaining a healthy gut.
Andrea Donsky is the founder of Naturally Savvy, where this article was originally published.