About 10 years ago I was having some problems with my health and after numerous visits to different A&E’s, Doctors and hospital appointments and tests, with various “diagnosis” I was not getting any better. Awful pains, feeling sick and bloated and unable to get comfortable and sleep. I had to go and prop myself on the sofa with a load of cushions in a particular position to be able to sleep. Over the the course of 6 months or so I was doing this several times a week, not good when you needed to go to work the next morning.
One day I felt particularly bad and asked my boss to take me home from work (again!!) Usually catching up with some sleep would make me feel better, not this time. I seemed to get worse and found that I needed to stay in bed. After about 2 – 3 days of this hubby said that he thought I looked a bit yellow (probably the light as that is the colour we had decorated our bedroom). So when I felt able to get up we looked and sure enough. I looked like I had jaundice so a call to the doctor was made and the “penny finally dropped”. Yes I had jaundice and I had gallstones. She wanted to do some more tests but over the course of the weekend I got worse and was admitted to hospital and spent a week in there recovering after having the diagnosis confirmed and the offending gallstones removed. Surgery was booked for a few weeks later to remove the gall bladder with strict dietary instructions for the meantime.
The frustrating thing with this was not just the length of time it took the medical profession to get the right diagnosis (there are several things which have identical symptoms) and how rough I felt for all this time, I knew how it could have been controlled in the meantime if I had received the correct diagnosis at the start. I had several years earlier embarked on a Rosemary Conley diet which had the primary emphasis of eating very low fat. She had discovered the benefits of eating this way herself having been advised that she had gallstones and this was her only hope of avoiding surgery.
Anyway, after my surgery I felt great and enjoyed feeling well again. I was advised by my surgeon that I may suffer more indigestion but I should be able to eat what I wanted (Which I did)
As time went on, work became more demanding and my eating habits deteriorated. Poor hubby was cooking meals for me and I was getting in so late I didn’t want to eat them as I was finding I was feeling sick in the night (and often was) and basically suffered from indigestion, but didn’t really make the connection.
You see the gall bladder releases bile which aids digestion and helps to break down any fat in your food and as I no longer had a gall bladder this was not happening. This was because without the gall bladder, I was not able to digest food as quickly and therefore would get indigestion at night, but I wasn’t connecting all this information together.
When hubby started having similar problems a few years later, we went into action, got all the low fat cook books out and by the time his tests came through they were clear. (we also lost a lot of weight)
Somewhere along the way I began having a glass of diluted apple juice with my dinner in the evening. I made several changes to my habits around this time;
- Portion size – I kept the size of my evening meal to a smallish portion using a childs plate (which is a trick to make your mind think you have had a bigger meal as the plate looks fuller)
- Trying not to eat too late – I would try not to eat any later than 7pm as I found that I needed time to allow anything I had eaten to be digested before I went to bed or would have to stay up late.
- Drinking a glass of apple juice – I would usually dilute this so I probably would only have about 100-150ml with sparkling water added as there is a lot of sugar in juice.
I began to notice that I was no longer suffering from indigestion. My “cough” disappeared and I was not having my sleep disturbed, but then I began to notice that if I ate elsewhere, even though I ate healthily, I would sometimes suffer a little bit of indigestion. I began to connect these times with not having the apple juice so when we stayed at my parents for example, I would pack some small apple juice cartons and drink one after dinner. Sure enough it seemed to help.
More recently I’ve for whatever reason, either we’ve eaten out or done something different on a few occasions found that I have suffered a bit of indigestion – why? because I have not had any apple juice. So sometimes I’ve got up at say 1 or 2 am and had a small glass of apple juice and guess what?… the indigestion settles almost immediately, back to bed and sleep with no problem.
Now I am not a medical person or scientific in any way so I am not able to explain why this happens scientifically or medically. But it seems to work for me.
I had a hunt on the internet to see if I could find an explanation and although there does not appear to be any conclusive evidence, it does appear that many “natural remedies” for indigestion involve eating an apple or drinking apple vinegar (no thanks) to aid indigestion and that many other people seem to think that it helps too.
Apples it seems; contain a substance which helps to neutralise stomach acid As well as other health benefits of vitamins and lowering cholesterol it looks like there is some truth in the old “apple a day, keeps the Doctor away” proverb.
So, if you are a sufferer, it might be worth trying instead of reaching for the medicine cupboard. It seems to work for me, you could of course eat an apple for your “desert” and get all the additional benefits of the fruit fibres as well.
Remember though there is a lot of sugar in Apple juice, so don’t have too much and make sure you clean your teeth afterwards