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10 Best Foods For An Upset Stomach

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Good Foods For An Upset Stomach
Health And Wellness

Food is the best medicine.

A stomachache can derail the most exciting of plans, and sometimes we have no idea why it’s happening or how to cure an upset stomach. Upset stomach is a generic term that can refer to a wide array of symptoms.

"These symptoms include nausea and vomiting, epigastric pain, increased acidity, bloating, the feeling that food is stuck or abdominal cramps," says Dr. Luiza Petre, a board certified cardiologist and weight management specialist. But there are certain types of food that can help combat each symptom.  

Sometimes, food is the root cause. And eating the right food for an upset stomach, and avoiding the wrong ones, can make a big difference. 

RELATED: 5 Ways The Foods You Eat Can Prevent Serious Problems In Your Digestive System

1. First, take a look at your food habits.

There are certain foods that trigger tummy problems but we also need to take a closer look at our habits. Simple changes can beat belly bloat and discomfort.

“Habits like drinking through a straw, eating quickly, chewing gum, and not moving after you eat (AKA ordering in lunch and sitting at your computer all day) could all welcome gastrointestinal distress,” warns Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com.

2. Cruciferous foods

Although certain foods may lead to a “stomach ache,” that doesn’t mean they should be avoided.

According to Taub-Dix, “Members of the cruciferous family — like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and cabbage — provide important nutrients and may even play a role in cancer prevention.”

Other foods like eggplant, peppers, grapes, and melon can have the same effect, yet they provide multiple health benefits. These foods shouldn’t be avoided just to keep your belly flat, but instead, don't have them all at once and watch portion sizes.

3. Broth

Clear broth like bone broth is rich in minerals and proteins and can soothe an upset stomach when you drink it hot.

"It helps with improving digestion and reducing gas. Broth adds little stress to your digestive tract while providing electrolytes and amino acids. The collagen from bone broth also has a calming effect on the inflamed digestive tract lining," says Dr. Petre.

4. Low-fat proteins

"Increased acid reflux and epigastric pain can be relieved with what is called the GERD diet — a diet high in low-fat proteins like fish, poultry and eggs. Oatmeal, yogurt, low acid fruits like melons, bananas, apples, and pears or green vegetables exert a neutralizing effect on the gastric acid and calm the esophageal and stomach lining," Dr. Petre advises.

RELATED: Why Following These 3 Simple Rules Is The Easiest Way To Eat Healthier

5. BRAT diet

Stick to BRAT: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. According to Dr. Petre, "These foods are low in fiber and full of starch, which aids in stool formation in cases of diarrhea, reduces acidity and supplies a calming effect on gastric walls."

Toast’s blandness adds no stress to your taxed digestive system when you are ill.

"The char from toast absorbs the gastric acids, adds bulk to your stool and has a settling effect on your stomach. Bananas, on the other hand, are a bland fruit packed with potassium, an important electrolyte to replenish when having vomiting or diarrhea. Bananas are also starchy and binding, making them easy to tolerate and digest when vomiting and/or having diarrhea."

6. Papaya

Papaya contains papain and chymopapain. "These enzymes soothe the stomach by breaking down proteins, which promotes a healthy acidic environment. Papaya alleviates indigestion, encourages digestion and combats constipation." Great advice from Dr. Petre!

7. Ginger

Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols, naturally occurring chemicals that help relax the muscles in your intestinal tract, thus making them an antidote to nausea and vomiting. 

Dr. Petre says, "Ginger’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties work wonders against bloat. This root is also known as one of the best natural remedies for nausea. You can get your ginger fix in a variety of forms — make tea with freshly grated root and hot water, or add fresh ginger to smoothies and salad dressings, which adds tons of flavor."

8. Mint

Mint improves the flow of bile through the stomach. According to Dr. Petre, "This aids in digestion. It also relieves pain and discomfort from gas and bloating. Mint is also a fast and effective remedy for nausea."

9. Fiber

Another nutrient that we need every day and that most of us don't get enough of is fiber. “You can find fiber in whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, beans, and fruits and veggies — some of the healthiest foods in the store! Introduce fiber slowly to reap its benefits without the side effects,” advises Taub-Dix.

10. Water

Of course, it’s important to drink enough fluids, like water, to help move all of the foods you eat through your system. “Carbonated beverages, however, could cause more gas and bloat,” warns Taub-Dix.

RELATED: What It Means If You Have Weird Stomach Pains


Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at alywalansky@gmail.com.

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