Stomach disorders affect more than 60 million people in the U.S. each year, and every day 1 in 18 Americans have heartburn. Whether it's IBS or newfound gluten intolerance, tummy troubles are on the rise and there is more than one way to help ease the pain.
Natural remedies have been placating disruptive digestive tracts for hundreds of years, and (if you get the go-ahead from your doctor) these methods may be just as effective as the over-the-counter meds you’ve been taking.
There are many causes for stomach pain: hangovers, a diet high in processed foods, a food allergy (gluten or lactose, typically), ulcers, or even stress. No matter the cause, if you’re experiencing a regular digestive issue, it’s best to contact your doctor first.
Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor, the best way to start the healing is to reduce the amount of processed foods that you eat, including fast food, frozen meals, and most other food with extra preservatives tossed in. Once you’ve switched up your diet to whole grains and lots of leafy greens, or for times when you’re experiencing short term discomfort, invest in some herbal tea. Certain varieties of tea such as chamomile and ginger are said to help cure everything from the common cold to indigestion and even insomnia.
You’ll also want to avoid excessively spicy food, which can cause indigestion or even literally burn a hole in your stomach. Stick to food like plain chicken and white rice, which are part of a bland diet created to ease digestive trouble.
After consulting with a physician, the next time you're reaching for a bottle of antacid, try one of these methods out.
Bland food like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) help soothe upset stomachs caused by indigestion, acid reflux, and diarrhea. There are other variations of the diet like BRATCH, which includes chicken, or BRATT, which includes tea.
Ginger is a miracle worker for nausea and indigestion, and even helps reduce gas. Ginger in any form will do the trick, including tea or freshly grated or candied ginger. Unless you’re drinking the natural stuff, most ginger ale doesn’t actually contain any ginger.
Article originally published on August 21, 2014
Julie Ruggirello is The Daily Meal’s Recipe Editor. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.