There's nothing worse than the gas, bloating, nausea, and overall discomfort when stomach troubles strike. From diarrhea to queasiness, it can be debilitating—and all you want is some relief as fast as humanly possible.
The good news? The next time you're stuck on the toilet or laid up in the fetal position from gas pain, you don't have to suffer so much because quick and healthy cures may actually already be in your kitchen! These are the foods that are proven to cure an array of stomach ailments—and for more staples to keep stocked for a healthy life and smarter cooking, check out these 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!
One of the most surefire ways to soothe an upset tummy is with ginger—a remedy that's been used since ancient times. "Its properties naturally relax the intestinal walls," says Dr. Susan Albers clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. "Try a cleansing light broth with ginger and shredded chicken or carrots, or sip a homemade ginger tea."
Tone It Up founders Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott love fresh ginger lemon tea, as well. Their recipe: Peel six to eight thin slices of ginger, quarter one lemon and place it all in four cups of water. Bring the heat up to a boil then reduce to a simmer for five minutes! "This makes a few servings, so you can sip on it throughout the day and it tastes incredible," they promise. Make the most of the benefits from tea with The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Bowl and Slippery Elm
"Stomach aches have so many different causes that it's important to treat the cause, not the symptom," says Home & Family's natural lifestyle expert Sophie Uliano. "However, the main cause of most stomach discomfort is gas or bloating. This kind of discomfort—along with an irritated digestive track—requires soothing foods, which contain a good amount of fiber to keep things moving. I recommend a small bowl of gluten-free oatmeal, made with rice or almond milk and slippery elm powder. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, and the herb slippery elm is mucilaginous, which means that it coats the whole of your digestive tract with a soothing and healing film." To make this combo: Mix one cup of gluten-free oats with two cups of non-dairy milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer for five minutes until the oats are cooked. Stir in one tbsp slippery elm powder. Top with cubed apple, walnuts, and a couple of chopped dates.
Banana and Almond Butter
A gentle-on-the-stomach snack is banana slices with almond butter on whole grain toast. "Bananas are easy on the stomach and help you restore normal bowel function because they contain a natural ingredient called pectin," explains Albers. Discover the 21 Amazing Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Bananas!
"Soothing your stomach can be as simple as drinking a glass of milk, which contains calcium," explains Albers. "It will help balance your stomach's pH level."
Lemon and Cinnamon
Add lemon and cinnamon to tea, oatmeal, water, or any other foods that are lighter on your stomach. "Lemon and cinnamon are great ingredients that contain antioxidants that help support the mucous layer in the stomach and small intestine that can be the cause of aches if you have an ulcer," explains Ken Immer, CCHE and President & Chief Culinary Officer of Culinary Health Solutions.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Using apple cider vinegar when you have an upset stomach seems counter-intuitive because we know vinegar is an 'acid'—the very thing that you're told to stay away from when your stomach is ailing. "But when the vinegar is truly raw and unpasteurized—the kind that's cloudy— it has wonderful, alkalizing effects," explains Immer. "It's an antidote for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and acid reflux." For more clever ways to use ACV, check out these 30 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar.
There's magic from Mother Nature in the deliciousness of papaya; the enzymes papain and chymopapain help break down proteins and soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment. Eating papaya can encourage digestion, ease indigestion, and also help with constipation. Your local grocer doesn't carry papaya? You can take papaya extract tablets, which are sold at your local health food store.
White Rice or Boiled Potatoes
As a general rule of thumb: "the blander the better," when your stomach is giving you trouble. Plain white rice or boiled potatoes can ease diarrhea and loose stool by absorbing fluids and adding bulk to your stool.
Apples, like bananas, contain pectin, which is a great way to relieve diarrhea. Applesauce—instead of whole, raw apples—are a better choice when your stomach is upset because it's a much easier form to digest. Otherwise, we don't really recommend it since it's pretty low in fiber—unless you're using it as a baking swap, that is!
Dairy is usually a food group you're told to stay away from when you're stomach is upset. But plain yogurt that is labeled as having "active cultures" increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. This will help with digestion and get rid of that bloated, uncomfortable feeling in your stomach that makes you feel like you can't even get up off the coach.
This, er, memorable acronym stands for "cherries, raisins, apricots, and prunes." They're all fruits with fiber—which are natural ways to "loosen things up" when you're constipated. You can thank Dr. Oz for this quirky memory trick, since he coined it.
Mint—added to tea, preferably—is a soothing way to relieve gas and decrease that painful and uncomfortable cramping that comes along with it. Mint can reportedly help with the flow of bile and acids in your stomach; it's one of the 10 Surprising Benefits of Mint!
Sold in health food stores, aloe juice can coat your stomach to relieve heartburn and stomach aches. But just keep in mind that while the juice is great for pushing toxins out of your system and clearing things out, you must drink it in moderation because it acts as a laxative.
If you're feeling particularly gassy or stomach ache-y, chew on half a teaspoon of fennel seeds or some fresh fennel. Fennel is like a natural Gas-X and helps flush toxins from your system.
Caraway seeds (similar to fennel seeds, but still different!) are filled with vitamins and minerals so they stop the growth of bad bacteria that's the culprit of indigestion, gas, or bloating. Grab a handful to snack on after eating a meal to nip any problems in the bud before they happen—or as soon as you start to feel gassy. Once you're feeling better and ready to get back to your to-do list, nosh on any of these 23 Best Foods for Energy!