What causes stomach pain, and is it a sign of something more serious? What natural remedies actually work for upset stomachs? Ease everyday stomach aches, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, and other stomach problems using these natural remedies. We'll also give you pointers on how to determine if your upset stomach is an indication of a more serious problem.
Nausea and Morning Sickness
Ginger root works directly in the gastrointestinal tract by interfering with the feedback mechanisms that send sickness messages to the brain. This is why your grandmother always suggested you drink ginger ale when your tummy hurt, though modern-day ginger ale rarely contains actual ginger. Find ginger root at your health food store in the form of powder, tea, or lozenges, and take some when you’re feeling nauseated to help alleviate your symptoms. Pregnant women: this is also a great trick to ease morning sickness.
Feeling bloated? It could just be trapped gas. Encourage it to move by gently stroking from your right hip up towards your ribs, then across the bottom of your ribcage and down towards your left hip. Repeat several times. A heating pad may also help. If you don't have one you can make your own! Put uncooked, long-grain rice into a tall sock and tie it shut. Stick it in the microwave on high for 1–2 minutes, and you’ll have soothing warmth.
Sometimes your body has trouble digesting food because you're not preparing it for your stomach well enough. Eating while talking, eating quickly, or drinking water while you eat are all culprits that prevent food from being broken down by the enzymes in your mouth and the enzymes in your stomach. Try dedicating quiet time each day to sit down and eat, and chew your food until it's liquid: these simple steps can work wonders. Indigestion can also be a sign of a food intolerance or a food allergy, such as Celiac Disease. Ask your doctor for lab tests, or experiment at home by removing a food from your diet for a month and see if your symptoms improve. Foods that many people are sensitive to include gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley), dairy (especially products made from cow's milk), soy, and eggs. Check out this article about the best and worst foods for digestion.
If you suffer from diarrhea, try adding fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi to your meals: cabbage is fantastic for the colon. The healthy bacteria found in yogurt can also help keep your intestines healthy, but not if you're sensitive to dairy. Consider buying a probiotic supplement from your health food store instead. Look for a brand that contains strains of acidophilus and bifidobacterium. To soothe a sudden bout of diarrhea, try drinking chamomile tea. Rice water may also be helpful. Boil ½ cup of brown rice in three cups of water, let simmer for 45 minutes, strain, and drink the rice water on its own. Eat the rice too: a high-fiber diet helps combat diarrhea, and the B vitamins will help your digestive system heal. Chronic or bloody diarrhea should be brought to the attention of a medical professional, and may be the symptom of a food allergy.
Don't be embarrassed: this has all happened to us at one time or another. If you find yourself constipated, add more fresh fruits and raw, green, leafy vegetables to your diet, as well as healthy fats. Try eating half a fresh avocado with lunch and another half with dinner, or take a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil twice a day to get things moving. Exercise can also help with constipation because physical activity spreads the movement of waste through the intestines.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux results when your body makes too much or too little HCl, the acid that breaks down food in your stomach. When you experience heartburn, do a little test by drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. If it alleviates the symptoms, this means your body isn't producing enough HCl, and you'll benefit from sipping pure apple cider vinegar mixed with water as you eat. If the test makes the symptoms worse, this means your body is producing too much HCl. Try drinking up to three teaspoons of baking soda daily, mixed with water in increments of ¼ to ½ teaspoon per glass. Chronic acid reflux, especially when accompanied by coughing, can be a sign of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
What are your best remedies to cure a stomach ache? Share them with us in the comments section below or on the Who Knew? Facebook page.
Please note that these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please check with your doctor before trying any of these remedies. These remedies are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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