Nausea, excess gas, heartburn, cramping, that annoying feeling like you are overly full … upset stomach can take many forms and may have many causes.
Sometimes it is the result of eating or drinking too much too fast, while other times it may be triggered when you eat a food that causes acid reflux. Still other times an upset stomach may be the result of an acute infection or chronic condition.
Regardless of the cause or specific symptoms, we can all agree on one thing: an upset stomach is no fun.
What do you do when you have an upset stomach? You can try to wait it out, but that is a lot easier said than done. You can take an over-the-counter medications, but a lot of these have only limited effectiveness and may come with side effects of their own which may also be unpleasant.
For that reason, you may be looking for natural remedies for upset stomach instead of OTC drugs. Let’s talk about how to get rid of upset stomach fast without a trip to the pharmacy.
1. Peppermint or spearmint
To soothe the discomfort of inflammation which is associated with upset stomach, you can try peppermint or spearmint. Mint is an especially good choice for heartburn, but may be useful in other situations as well. You can suck on a mint candy, or you can brew mint leaf tea. Either way, this is a great way to get fast relief when you need it.
Ginger is among the best known remedies for upset stomach. It is versatile, affordable, and easy to store. A ginger root stored in your freezer will keep up to a month. You can use it to soothe your symptoms by slicing it up and eating a raw, or steep a tea. Some people mix in a bit of lemon and honey to improve the flavor and efficacy.
If upset stomach is the result of a chronic ongoing problem, you will find that adding ginger to your recipes as a regular part of your diet helps to prevent and alleviate symptoms of your condition. Need to see some proof that ginger root really does work wonders for upset stomach? Check out the research here.
If you live in the United States, there is a good chance you have never actually had real licorice. Most licorice candy in the US is flavored with anise. You can however mail order actual licorice candy from overseas.
In small quantities, it can be an excellent remedy for heartburn and the resulting upset stomach. Make sure however that you do not eat too much of it, or it can cause serious health problems. In small quantities, for most people it is completely safe.
4. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds contain an oil called anethole, which is known to stimulate the production of digestive juices. If your digestive distress is the result of constipation, you may find fennel seeds particularly helpful as an upset stomach home remedy. Inflammation-related stomach pain may also be reduced by chewing fennel seeds.
Like licorice, fennel may act like estrogen, so you should use it with caution if you have a hormonal imbalance or a condition which is sensitive to changes. You should never use fennel if pregnant or breastfeeding, and you should only ever use it in the small amounts present in food. Researchers still are not sure if it is safe in larger amounts.
5. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Apple cider vinegar probably is the last thing you feel like downing when you are suffering from heartburn or another form of upset stomach. Believe it or not, though, many people swear by it as a powerful natural remedy. No one is entirely positive how it works, but some theories include the ACV balancing out the acid production in your stomach and the vinegar helping to break down fats.
If you decide to give this a try, you are going to need to water it down. Undiluted, it can be very hard to swallow. Mix a couple of tablespoons into eight ounces of water. Stir it up well and drink it quickly.
Still can’t stand the stuff? A lot of people mix in a little honey to improve the flavor and reduce the burn.
If you do not like apple cider vinegar, try lemon juice. Lemon juice is another remedy for upset stomach a lot of people get great results with. Once again, how it works is unclear.
Lemon juice is acidic outside the body and alkaline once it is fully metabolized, but naturally it is not fully metabolized when you first drink it. For that reason, it probably works similarly to ACV.
If you find these methods do not work for you, discontinue them. For some people, they can worsen acid reflux and resulting stomach upset.
6. BRAT foods
Have a toddler? If so, you probably know all about the BRAT foods. BRAT is an acronym. It stands for a number of bland foods that work well when nothing else will go down without causing problems: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. All four foods have a low fiber content and are easy to digest.
Usually you give BRAT foods to your kids when they are sick. If you have an acute illness, BRAT foods can work well for you too! They also work great if you have a chronic issue to deal with, like IBS, and they can be the perfect remedy when you have acid reflux as well.
While most of the ideas that we have shared here are for immediate relief of acute symptoms, it is worth mentioning one home remedy for upset stomach which can provide you with lasting relief.
Yogurt contains healthy microorganisms your body needs to help you digest your food. When you are in good digestive health, you have a thriving community of these bacterial “good guys” lining your digestive tract. If something goes wrong though (like an infection), your healthy bacteria can be wiped out.
Eating yogurt lets you replenish those helpful bacteria. You can take probiotic bills as well, but they tend to be expensive.
Here are a couple of tips for adding yogurt to your diet:
• Stay away from yogurt with added sugar. If you want, sweeten plain yogurt with stevia.
• Do not be surprised if yogurt seems to make an upset stomach briefly worse. When you first start eating it, you may get heartburn. This is because the bacteria temporarily make your stomach environment more acidic when they are settling in.
After they make a home, the acid will calm down. In fact, if heartburn is a regular cause of your upset stomach, you should experience an overall reduction in your symptoms over time.
Few feelings are worse than an upset stomach, but whatever the cause of your symptoms, there are solutions out there for immediate and lasting relief! You do not even need to go the pharmacy. Just check your kitchen for BRAT foods, ginger, mint, yogurt, or one of the other natural remedies on this list!