10 Practically Medicinal Foods That Help Ease Stomach Pain

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No matter how careful you are with your diet or the number of times you chew your food, stomach upset happens. Because a rumbling tummy is not always preventable, it’s important to have a remedy or two to combat the inevitable belly bloat, indigestion, and nausea. While we often resort to taking over-the-counter medications to ease stomach discomfort, if there were an all-natural remedy that soothed stomach aches just as well as our favorite antacids, we’d be more than willing to give it a try.

Cue 10 foods that help ease stomach pain, all of which are completely natural and come highly recommended by nutritionists. From high-fiber oats to probiotic-rich yogurt and anti-nausea ginger, these foods aid in digestion and settle the stomach. For the 10 foods that will soothe a rumbling tummy, keep on reading.

Had too much to eat? Fahad says sipping on peppermint tea aids in digestion by calming the stomach muscles, thus processing food faster through the stomach. Another tea that might just help ease your stomach pain is chamomile. Like peppermint tea, chamomile tea relaxes muscles. However, chamomile tea targets the muscles of the intestines, says Fahad, which helps to relieve gas while subsequently easing pain associated with belly bloat.

While not everyone can tolerate dairy, for those who can, Fahad recommends eating organic, plain, grass-fed yogurt, as it aids in digestion by restoring good bacteria in the gut, thus reducing the uncomfortable feeling of belly bloat.

A bowl of gluten-free oatmeal is the perfect remedy for an upset stomach, says Isabel Smith, MD, RD, CDN. Not only are oats a good source of fiber, but Smith says they also aid in digestion while helping to bind stool.

Bananas

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Farah Fahad, MS, RD, recommends reaching for a banana when dealing with a volatile stomach, as it happens to be one of the easier-to-digest foods. Plus, she says bananas are a good source of pectin, which, if you’re dealing with diarrhea, helps to bind the stool.

Papaya

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A rich source of proteolytic enzymes, papaya helps along the digestive process, says Fahad. She further adds that some of these enzymes (papain and chymopapain) help to break down proteins and soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment.

Ginger

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If your upset stomach turns into nausea, reach for some fresh ginger, says Fahad. While the exact anti-nausea mechanism of ginger is not clear, Fahad says some evidence suggests that it inhibits serotonin receptors and exerts an anti-nausea effect on the gastrointestinal system, as well as the central nervous system.

Scrambled Eggs

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According to Stephanie Vuolo, a certified nutritional therapist and creator of Primarily Paleo, a healthful boost of protein can be safe for stomach pain as long as you go with something that's a little on the bland side and, yes, soft. The perfect antidote? Eggs—preferably scrambled. Plus, eggs are lower in fat than, say, steak or fatty seafood like salmon, which will ultimately be easier on a sensitive stomach. 

Lean Chicken

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Again, like eggs, plain chicken (without the skin and sans any extra oils and accompaniments) can be a great way to ensure you're still getting protein and nutrients even when you're stuck with annoying stomach pain—be it cramps, nausea, or gas. Vuolo recommends poaching or baking a lean cut of chicken for optimal results. 

Sweet Potato

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While you've probably heard that plain white rice (a quintessential component of the ever-infamous BRAT diet) is good for easing stomach pain, Vuolo argues that slow-burning yet still bland sources of carbohydrates like sweet potato or squash can be strategic foods to nosh on when your stomach is suffering. Hearty root vegetables like these can be steamed, boiled, or baked to achieve a soft and (sorry) mushy texture but are still filled with the vitamins and minerals your body is craving.

Mint

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If you experience acid reflux, Smith recommends staying clear of mint. However, if that isn’t an issue, Smith says mint is a great natural remedy for indigestion as well as belly bloat.

Next up: Eat these foods to avoid belly bloat.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.