Having an upset stomach is not something we enjoy. Life does not stop just because our tummies are churning. All you want is to feel better as quickly as possible. I swear we all have our own remedies, you know, those tips and tricks that work for us when our tummies are upset. The problem is, these tips or tricks may not work on others.
The first question will always be, why, where did I pick up a stomach bug? Was it something you ate, or was it from a bacterial infection? There will always be some symptoms that accompany that upset stomach. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, there are cases of long term upset stomachs. These will include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. The symptoms of those are diarrhea, bloating, gas and constipation.
There are actually foods that can actually make the upset stomach even worse. However, there are some foods that will help you feel better when you have an upset stomach. Many of these are basic foods that may surprise you.
The BRAT diet is one that is recommended by pediatricians and family doctors everywhere. The foods included in the BRAT diet help to ease the nausea, vomiting and the diarrhea. The four foods are
Below is a list of items that are considered to be liquid. Liquids are helpful to bring your body back to a hydrated form. As vomiting and diarrhea happen, it removes more and more water from your body. These fluids need to be replaced quickly. Sipping water is helpful, drinks, such as pedialyte help to restore the electrolytes in your system. Other items included on a liquid diet include:
- Clear broth
- Diluted Fruit Juice
- Herbal teas
- Popsicles made from fruit juice
- Weak teas with no added milk or sugar
Consuming these will begin to help the stomach settle down. Sipping on small amounts of liquids does not overwhelm the stomach. Of course, if you have diarrhea with an upset stomach too much liquid would make some issues worse.
This is why it is recommended just sipping or having very small amounts at a time. Vegetable or bone broth is beneficial to obtain proteins and liquids. Bone broth contains Amino acid glutamine. This helps protect the intestinal barrier. In essence, it stops the pathogen and toxins from getting to the intestinal tract.
If your stomach has calmed down some by the half day mark you could start with half a piece of toast. Toast is also part of the Brat diet. It helps to begin solidifying the foods that are consumed.
Applesauce has antioxidants that are called polyphenols. These polyphenols help to relieve some inflammation. In a medical review done in 2015, applesauce polyphenols may help to regulate the immune system, which will then control the inflammation.
These polyphenols also work to protect the stomach and intestinal tract from any damage. Those same polyphenols also help to improve the biome for all the microorganisms that live in your gut. These need to be there to help keep the insides healthy.
Bananas help to replenish some of the potassium lost during illness. These foods that are included in the BRAT diet are gentle on the internal systems, including the stomach. The blandness of the foods, Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast, are gentle and help protect the stomach from further upset issues.
Making a tea out of grated ginger will also help to ease some of the inflammation of the intestinal barrier. You only need to grate the fresh ginger and let it steam in hot water. Ginger is believed to help settle an upset tummy. Many people used to think that it was just an old wive’s tale, but have come to learn that they knew what they were talking about.
If the upset stomach comes from constipation, an increase in fluids is recommended. You could also sprinkle linseed onto hot cereal or add the seeds to a smoothie. It is highly recommended that the person increase the intake of water while taking the linseed. The extra fluid will help to eliminate the constipation.
- White Rice is considered to be a well tolerated food for those that have an upset stom with diarrhea. The white rice is actually low in fiber. Being low in fiber gives the bowels a chance to form, in comparison to the healthier brown rice which helps to eliminate and empty the bowels.
- Plain crackers have a high content of starch. This helps to absorb the gastric acids and settle the upset stomach. Also, being a bland type of food, it can satisfy hunger pangs without an aroma or strong smell or taste that could exacerbate the stomach being upset.
- Skinless and unseasoned fish or chicken is easy to digest and replenishes the protein that has been lost. The protein also helps you feel full.
- Scrambled eggs will also help slow down the bowel movements, thus giving them a chance to form. They are easy to prepare and will help a person get past the diarrhea faster.
- Oatmeal is another bland food that can help settle hunger pains when you have an upset stomach or diarrhea. There is no strong flavor or aroma that would upset the system and cause the stomach to let loose again.
- Toast is recommended as it is another bland food, but will help you feel better when you have an upset stomach. If you can, eating burnt toast is even better as the charcoal acts as a sponge and soaks up the gastric acids.
There are a number of what are considered wive’s tale remedies. Yet again, many have proven to be helpful for what they were intended to do. When you have a new baby who has tummy issues, you will likely be told by the older generation to dry a drop of peppermint. They swear that it helps to relieve a baby’s tummy ache, and some will say it helps a colicky baby.
Baking soda is considered to be a remedy that can help to neutralize the gastric acids that cause nausea and vomiting. Caraway seeds have a history of helping with stomach troubles. There is an oil in them that contains carvone and limonene. These have been shown to help ease gas, bloating and heartburn. Making a tea from boiling the caraway seeds is recommended, but you can also chew the seeds which will give some help quicker.
None of these old wive’s tales have been medically proven, except by the people it has worked for. As far as one can tell, there have also been no studies to research these products. History is all we can go by. When you think about it, they do make some sense.
Most of the over the counter remedies that are used for an upset stomach, diarrhea or even nausea, did not exist generations ago. They used something that obviously was helpful. They were tough back then, but a person can only handle so much.
Sadly, there is no cure for the common stomach that is upset. You can only try to eat what is possible. The bland foods are best, the ones with no strong aroma or flavors. Liquids are what we should start with when experiencing the upset stomach.
Go for liquids that have some calories in them. Soup broths or bone broths both contain the needed protein to help your body begin to recuperate. Low fiber foods such as bananas, applesauce, saltine crackers and dry toast will help soak up gastric acids, while also allowing your bowels to form rather than forcing them out.
If it is difficult to lay down and rest, sleeping while sitting up in a comfortable chair may help. Many times some people find that laying a hot water bottle or heating pad across their stomach makes them feel better. Avoiding hard to digest foods, alcohol and sugary drinks is well advised. None of those is going to ease any aspect of an upset stomach, especially one that is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, the first 24 hours are the most important time to get the stomach back in check. Sticking to the clear liquid diet is something that you will see even hospitals using after most surgeries. This is done so that there is no added stress on the body and the organs. If you can follow the liquid diet strictly for the first 24 hours and see how you feel, then you can up the intake with other bland foods.
Do not rush to get back to your regular diet, eating everything you normally do. Your stomach takes time to heal also. If you break a hand, you can not jump back into picking up heavy items immediately. Your stomach is no different. It expects you to be gentle for a day or two.