When it feels like there’s a war going on inside your stomach, it can be tough to decide what to nibble on. You don’t want to eat the wrong thing and once again find yourself sitting on — or hunched over — the toilet. At the same time, your body needs the fluids and nutrients to get back on track.
Next time you experience an upset stomach, follow these food guidelines for a speedy recovery:
Try sucking on ice chips at first, to stay safe. If that goes well, graduate to small sips of water. If you’ve been vomiting, you’ll need to replenish your electrolytes — send out one of your minions to fetch some coconut water stat.
Another good bland food, oatmeal is highly nutritious and rich in soluble fiber, which aids digestion, helps prevent constipation, and eases symptoms of upset stomach.
Bananas have a natural antacid effect and have been found to ease stomach pain. According to Livestrong, the fruit’s high levels of potassium help reduce stomach cramps, and the fiber aids digestion so whatever you ate moves out of your stomach and toward the (correct) exit. Bananas also increase mucous production in the stomach, Livestrong says, which helps prevent irritation of the stomach lining.
Before you get too carried away: Make sure it’s the nonfat, plain variety. Studies have shown this probiotic-packed health food can ease digestion, reduce the duration of diarrhea and help decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Bland foods are best for tummy troubles. They’re easily digestible and can help neutralize excess stomach acid without making your tummy do more work than it needs to. Stick to starches like rice, potatoes, toast (no butter!), crackers, and pretzels.
Not only will it help get some H2O into your system, but Roman chamomile is also used to treat indigestion, gas, nausea, and vomiting.
Applesauce is high in fiber but easy to digest, and it tends to be easier on the stomach than actual apples.
Though more research needs to be conducted to confirm previous studies, papaya has been shown to treat stomach ulcers and aid digestion, thanks to the enzyme papain.
It's another natural remedy that could use more conclusive evidence, but ginger has long been touted for its ability to alleviate gas and nausea. At the very least, it’s been shown to be fairly effective in treating pregnancy-related nausea.
Many herbal practitioners and doctors of oriental medicine swear by the benefits of angostura bitters, including its ability to aid digestion. It was originally used in the Simon Bolivar army to treat upset stomachs. To give it a try, add a little to a glass of tonic water or club soda and drink.
According to Discovery Health, the menthol in peppermint promotes the flow of bile to the duodenum, where it aids digestion. It’s also an antispasmodic, which means it calms the action of muscles, particularly the ones in the digestive system. Some warm peppermint tea can help you hydrate while possibly providing some of these digestive benefits.
Whether it’s chicken, beef, or soy, broth is a soothing, easily digestible way to hydrate.
Caraway seeds have developed a good reputation for treating everything from constipation and gas to bloating and stomach spasms. While more research is needed to confirm these claims, the seeds have been determined possibly effective for heartburn. You can either chew the seeds or use them to make tea.
Just say no to the caffeine. It can cause heartburn, promote diarrhea, and worsen stomach ulcers.
Avoid dairy — yogurt is an exception because it doesn’t contain the same amount of lactose you find in other dairy products that will exacerbate stomach issues.
Stay away from the Thai and Indian food for now. Spicy food stimulates the digestive system and can cause indigestion.
High-fat foods cause the digestive tract to contract, which can lead to constipation or diarrhea.
Foods high in acid, like tomatoes and orange juice, can cause and exacerbate digestive problems.
Hard-to-digest high-fiber foods
You don’t need to put your stomach through a loop and make it break down difficult-to-digest foods right now. Avoid lentils, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, citrus, and cabbage, says Expert Clinic.
— Melissa Valliant, HellaWella
More From HellaWella: