We all get an upset stomach from time to time, it is a pretty hard thing to escape. For most of us, if we stay hydrated and stick to easy to digest foods, we can avoid the occasional bout of constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach. But of others, those with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome for example, digestive troubles can be debilitating and painful. Fortunately, for all of us, Prevention
has put together a list of drug free, natural ways to soothe an angry belly:
1. Skip these foods
Whole wheat, honey and garlic can all be disastrous to some. Bowel disorders are complicated because we all have different guts that react to things differently. What bothers one, may not bother an other. Having said that, trying "the low FODMAP diet," according to H. Christian Weber, MD, a gastroenterologist at Boston Medical Center, should work for almost all of us.
FODMAP is short for "fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols" and targets natural sugars that pull water away from the intestine. The list of forbidden foods is long and includes things like watermelon, lenitls and chickpeas. After a few weeks (two to six weeks) of eliminating all FODMAP foods, you can start to reintroduce them, one by one, until you have identified your trigger.
2. Get off the couch
Exercise is pretty much a good remedy for everything. "Endorphins are pain killers," Weber says. Not only does exercise release endorphins, it increases the oxygen in your blood which also makes you feel better. Exercise won't address an underlying gut issue but it can give you a little relief. Who else wants to take a pass on ibuprofen once in a while? The research isn't totally clear on whether or not aerobic exercise is better than strength training so Weber suggests you give both a shot.
3. Assess your stress
Sometimes stressful activities, like an upcoming public speaking engagement, can give you feelings of an upset stomach or gas. Your brain and your stomach speak to each other and so when one is disturbed by something, the other may also feel it. Because of this brain-gut connection, stress can be a big trigger for people with chronic stomach problems.
Find a way to eliminate stress that works for you. One study found that those with bowel disorders that spent 15-20 mins a day fighting stress with yoga, meditation or prayer, experienced lower levels of anxiety and pain as an increased quality of life over the course of 9 weeks. Not an instant cure but certainly one that can't hurt.
4. Grab some peppermint
Peppermint oil is a great way to try to ease stomach pain. But Weber says to be careful when picking out peppermint supplements at the health food store as they are only loosely regulated by the FDA. He also says they are often loaded with unnecessary additives that can actually do more harm than good. Consult your doctor first.
Do you have tummy troubles or a bowel condition? Are there natural methods you use to find relief?
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