Stomach upset can be soothed by foods such as green bananas, ginger, licorice, flax seeds, papaya, low-fodmap foods, applesauce, peppermint, and chamomile.
Most of us get affected by stomach upset that may come from eating, drinking, or several other reasons. The result of stomach upset could be vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating, or constipation. Because the reasons for this condition vary, the treatment is never the same. Nevertheless, certain foods can come in handy different to make you feel well faster. Below are the 12 best foods you can use for an upset stomach.
Food poisoning and infection can cause painful stomach upset. Several studies confirm that serving cooked green bananas to young ones with diarrhea due to infection can alleviate the episodes’ severity, amount, and length. The cooked green banana diet is four times better than the rice-based diet in eliminating diarrhea. Researchers attribute a certain fiber called resistant starch to the antidiarrhea functions of green bananas. This fiber is indigestible and runs through the digestive tract to the colon. At the colon, it is fermented by the colon bacteria, producing fatty acids that enable water absorption to create a firm stool.
Ginger is a powerful spice that has claimed its place in the kitchen for a reason. It has been used for years as a remedy for treating stomach upset. Ginger can be taken as a supplement, eaten raw, steeped in hot water, or cooked, and it will still be effective as traditional medicine. Expectant mothers experiencing morning sickness often use some form of ginger with instant efficiency. One review study examining some six studies involving 500 expectant mothers found that a daily intake of one gram of ginger contributed to 5 times reduction in vomiting and nausea. Ginger is also known to be effective on people experiencing nausea or vomiting due to chemotherapy. Additionally, individuals experiencing vomiting or nausea due to motion can reduce these symptoms when taking ginger before traveling. Some believe that ginger achieves these functions by regulating the nervous system, which signals the stomach to empty faster, reducing the chances of vomiting and nausea.
Sometimes stomach upset results from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a gut disorder associated with bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Some studies suggest that peppermint can alleviate some IBS symptoms. Studies show that a daily intake of peppermint oil capsules for two weeks is enough to significantly minimize stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, and diarrhea in those with IBS. These studies suggest that peppermint oil effectively alleviates stomach upset because it relaxes digestive tract muscles, thus minimizing intestinal spasms. Though these results demonstrate potential success, further research should explore whether peppermint tea or leaf give the same results.
This herbal plant has been by traditional medicine persons to alleviate stomach upset for years. Chamomile has also gained fame because it can solve various intestinal issues, such as diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting, nausea, and gas. However, only a few studies have centered on its use to correct digestive problems. For instance, one study showed that people on chemotherapy and supplementing with chamomile experienced reduced vomiting. Another mice study established that chamomile can reduce diarrhea by limiting water in the stool and reducing intestinal spasms. It has also been employed to relieve babies’ gas, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating, and colic.
Though licorice is popularly found in supplement form, this root herb was traditionally consumed whole to remedy stomach ulcers. Today, licorice supplement is preferred because the licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, a chemical that causes high blood pressure, fluid imbalance, and reduced potassium levels. Several test-tube and animal studies show that taking licorice supplements (DGL) increases mucus secretion that protects stomach acid from corroding the stomach. It also reduces stomach pain due to inflammation in the stomach lining. It means that licorice can help relieve stomach upset due to acid reflux. Additionally, some researchers have found that DGL supplements can prevent the growth of a bacteria causing stomach ulcers called H. pylori, thus reducing symptoms of stomach ulcers.
Flaxseed is a famous seed due to its fiber content that can relieve abdominal pain and constipation by regulating bowel movements. Chronic constipation can be very painful, and flaxseed oil or meal has improved its symptoms. One study demonstrated that individuals with constipation taking four ml of flaxseed every day for two weeks experienced significant improvement in bowel movement than before they consumed flaxseed. Another study also agreed with this finding, ascertaining that individual eating flaxseed muffins witnessed improved bowel movements by 30% than when they were not consuming flaxseed. Some animal studies have attributed other health benefits to flaxseed, such as reduced intestinal spasms and stomach ulcers.
It is also called pawpaw and is traditionally used as a remedy for indigestion. It has an enzyme papain that facilitates the breaking down of proteins for easier digestion and absorption. Since some individuals lack enough enzymes that can aid in digestion, consuming papaya with papain could solve indigestion that causes stomach upset. Though there are no many studies that have explored the digestive function of papain, one study showed that a regular intake of papaya reduced bloating and constipation in adults. Interestingly, some West African nations still use papaya as a traditional medicine for stomach ulcers. Some studies also suggest that the seed of this fruit can help fight intestinal parasites that often result in stomach pain.
Supplements of Pectin
Pectin supplement is used as a remedy for a foodborne illness that causes diarrhea. Naturally, it is found in apples and citrus fruits. Since it is fibrous, it is indigestible by humans; therefore, it stays along the digestive tract absorbing water from the bowel to create a firm stool and reduce diarrhea. One study gave children with diarrhea pectin for four days, and the result showed that 82% of these kids recovered from diarrhea. Additionally, pectin makes the good bacteria flourish in the gut, thus helping relieve stomach upset. Pectin has also been shown to improve bacteria balance in the gut. It reduces symptoms of indigestion as it provides a perfect ground for good bacteria to thrive as the bad ones diminish.
An imbalance in the number of bacteria, also called dysbiosis, can also cause an upset stomach. This imbalance can be reduced by consuming foods rich in probiotics, which are bacteria needed in your gut. These bacteria have been found to reduce bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements. Probiotics foods include yogurt, buttermilk, and kefir. Yogurts have active bacteria that help in diarrhea and constipation; buttermilk helps reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotics and relieves constipation. Kefir helps those experiencing chronic constipation have consistent bowel movements.
FODMAPs refer to Fermentable, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. It is a type of carbohydrate that, when unprocessed, enters the large intestine where the gut bacteria vigorously ferment them, creating bloating and excessive gas. They also lead to diarrhea by attracting water. You need to avoid foods with a high concentration of FODMAPs, especially if you have digestion problems, such as IBS. Consuming food with a low concentration of FODMAP relieves diarrhea and gas bloating.
The Bottom Line
Stomach upset can be annoying, and sometimes over-the-counter drugs can have side effects. However, some natural foods can help relieve these stomach problems and provide quick relief. We have seen that fruits like pawpaw and bananas help improve digestion; herbs like ginger soothe the stomach while taking low FODMAP foods reduce diarrhea, gas elimination, and bloating. Next time you are having bouts of stomach upset, here you go with some convenient options.