What to Eat If You Have an Upset Stomach
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Having an upset stomach blows—especially when it leaves you doubled over in pain. Add to that cramping, nausea, belly bloating, or diarrhea, and it becomes near impossible to deal with day-to-day tasks. While it's a good idea to keep your diet simple during these periods (think clear broth and saltine crackers), certain foods can actually help soothe the stomach. You can also make these simple recipes that help an upset stomach.
Food for Upset Stomach: Bananas
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There's a reason bananas remain a recommended energy booster for marathon runners: Bananas are easily digestible and generally won't upset your stomach. (Marathoner or not, here's why you should eat a banana before your next workout.) Plus, bananas help with an upset stomach because they contain pectin, which helps to naturally initiate bowel movements.
Food for Upset Stomach: Papaya
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Add another tropical fruit to the list of tummy soothers. Eating papaya encourages digestion, eases indigestion, and helps with constipation. (Discover these plant-based, high-protein foods that are also easy to digest.) The magic is in the enzymes papain and chymopapain, which help break down proteins and soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment. If you can't find fresh papayas, consider papaya extract tablets.
Food for Upset Stomach: White Rice
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When your stomach is feeling topsy-turvy, it's a good idea to stick to bland foods like white rice, toast, or boiled potatoes. Besides not putting added stress on an already-sensitive digestive system, these stomach-settling foods help ease diarrhea by absorbing fluids and adding bulk to your stool. (When you're back to feeling better, though, you should opt for whole-grain foods such as brown rice and quinoa, since these are higher in fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.)
Food for Upset Stomach: Ginger
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Research has shown that ginger helps with nausea and overall digestion. Experts even recommend ginger for what to eat after the stomach flu or food poisoning. You can opt for ginger tea or ginger powder, or you can even chew on a fresh piece of ginger or ginger candy to ease an upset stomach. (This ginger pear smoothie is also a tasty idea if you want some sweetness to counteract the strong ginger flavor.)
Food for Upset Stomach: Applesauce
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Like bananas, apples are a good source of pectin, which helps to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea. If you are dealing with an upset stomach, skip sliced apples in favor of applesauce since the cooked-down apples will be much easier to digest. Cinnamon also promotes good digestion, so sprinkle a little on top for even more stomach-soothing benefits.
Food for Upset Stomach: Herbal Tea
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Besides the soothing effects of a warm cup of tea (see: 5 Reasons to Drink More Tea), both peppermint and chamomile have been noted for helping with bellyaches. In addition to easing symptoms associated with IBS, peppermint has also been shown to help soothe a sore throat and an upset stomach. And chamomile can relieve an upset stomach because it has long been touted for its relaxing effects and its ability to relieve stress and tension in the body.
Food for Upset Stomach: Yogurt
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Most dairy can be difficult to digest, but a serving of plain yogurt can have quite the opposite effect. The key is to make sure you're choosing a yogurt that is labeled as having "active cultures." These cultures will increase the number of good bacteria in your gut for a healthy stomach, aiding in digestion and reducing the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated. Ideally, choose organic plain yogurt.
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