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Sure, it can happen to anyone, but for women symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive upsets happen about six times more frequently than they do for men. So what’s a girl to do? Try this food prescription when that queasy feeling takes root in your tummy.
Often used to treat digestive upsets such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and heartburn, papaya's natural digestive enzyme, papain, breaks down foods that may be irritating to the stomach. A half of thinly sliced fruit will do the trick.
These fall favorites are good for fighting a queasy stomach because they are rich in enzymes and the soluble fiber, pectin, that help to break down stomach irritants from other foods and as a bonus, also lower cholesterol. Apples are best baked if you have a particularly sensitive stomach.
This spice can treat a number of tummy problems from morning sickness to diarrhea gas. It stimulates the digestive system, which moves foods along the digestive tract smoothly. Sprinkle cinnamon on other stomach-settling foods like apples, bananas or in herbal teas such as chamomile or ginger. You can also make a plain cinnamon tea by adding 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder to 1 cup hot water; let stand for 5 minutes before drinking.
Anyone who's ever had an upset stomach may have heard that ginger ale was the remedy to settle an upset stomach and for good reason. Ginger is believed to reduce nausea and inflammation. If you don't like "the fizzies"that come with the carbonation of ginger ale, try ginger tea or fresh ginger soaked in hot water for a few minutes.
Mint and thyme
Both herbs stimulate digestion and move food smoothly through the digestive tract. Each can be used to make a simple tea to ease stomach cramps and to relieve pressure caused by gas and bloating. You may also chew on mint leaves for relief.
Fennel or caraway seeds
These seeds can work wonders to improve digestion and to ease gas and bloating. Add 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds to 1 cup boiling water cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, and drink 3 cups a day on an empty stomach for best results until you're feeling better. You may also chew on the seeds after a meal to prevent stomach upsets.
Unless you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, these work well to settle an upset stomach because they are low in fiber and easy to digest.
Bottom line? Stay away from hi-fat and fried foods because the demands on your stomach to digest them are too high and will cause undue stress. Opt for clear vegetable or chicken broth to ease back into a diet of vegetables, fruit and lean protein if you have been unable to tolerate solid foods for a while.
Rovenia Brock, Ph.D. is the author, Dr. Ro’s Ten Secrets to Livin’ Healthy and a member of the Dr. Oz Medical Advisory Board