October 29, 2021
Foods, Drinks, and Herbs to Help Relieve Gastrointestinal Problems
Gastrointestinal problems, or stomach issues, are very common and can present themselves in many ways and be caused by a variety of things. Some of the most common gastrointestinal problems are GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s Disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, nausea, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. These issues range from severe diseases to common, temporary stomach problems.
A lot of the time, what we eat can cause these minor symptoms and further irritate gastrointestinal diseases. Consuming a balanced, varied diet and eating healthy snacks can help prevent new problems from forming and not aggravate any current issues. Still, sometimes we don’t eat the best foods and suffer problems later. Here are some healthy things to consume when you’re experiencing gastrointestinal problems.
The BRAT diet is a very common diet that many parents put their small children on when they have an upset stomach. BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast— four very bland foods that will not irritate the stomach. These are also starchy foods that bind together to produce a more bulky and less watery stool. BRAT foods are also high in essential minerals like magnesium and potassium, which are lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Keep in mind that water is also lost during vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s important to stay hydrated.
Ginger is an herb that contains chemicals that help speed up digestion and reduce nausea and vomiting. Ginger is available in a variety of forms, such as tea, seasoning, chewy bits, etc. It can also be used to help fight the common cold and flu, which can also cause stomach issues. Ginger has antioxidant properties which allows it to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body, which is a form of cancer prevention. It’s also considered safe for most pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.
Mint is another herb that can be consumed in a variety of ways, with peppermint tea being a popular natural (but effective) remedy for indigestion and gas. Mint comes from mint leaves, which can be eaten raw, cooked, and brewed like a tea. Two well-known types of mint are peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint and water mint, but it’s more pungent than spearmint— and also more effective at relieving gastrointestinal issues than spearmint. Spearmint is more often used for personal care products, such as toothpaste.
Other Herbs and Spices
Cinnamon, clove, and cumin are also effective in treating gastrointestinal problems. Cinnamon may help neutralize the acid in the stomach that can further irritate GERD (acid reflux and heartburn) and reduces bloating, cramps, and gas. Clove is similar to cinnamon and also helps with bloating, cramps, gas, and reducing stomach acids. Finally, cumin reduces inflammation of the intestines, and also relieves heartburn, gas, indigestion, and also reduces excess stomach acid.
Our bodies need water not only to stay hydrated but also to allow all of our organs to work correctly, including the entire digestive system. Dehydration makes digestion extremely difficult, so make sure that you’re drinking enough water every day. Everyone is different, so it’s recommended that you listen to your body when it comes to drinking enough water. Some people may need more than eight glasses a day, some may need less; you may also need more on certain days than others.
Several gastrointestinal issues are often treated with OTC (over-the-counter) medications, which are also effective, but some can do more harm than good. An example is Zantac. Zantac has caused some concern because some of its users have developed stomach cancer when using it.
Always consult with your doctor if you have any questions regarding gastrointestinal issues. Many are nothing to be worried about, and these remedies will work fine. However, if you’re experiencing serious issues, you should talk to a medical professional.