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A sensitive stomach is a stomach that easily gets upset, and people with a sensitive stomach suffer from recurrent episodes of symptoms such as abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
The sensitivity can be linked to certain foods or conditions such as lack of sleep or stress. However, sometimes there is no cause for a sensitive stomach.
There are foods that can worsen the symptoms, such as spicy foods, fried foods, and dairy. There are also foods that can improve the symptoms of stomach upset and are easier to digest. However, we must be aware of the nutritional requirements and include a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients required by the body. In the article, we intend to explain the best foods for a sensitive stomach that are rich in healthy nutrients.
Best Foods For Sensitive Stomach
You can include these foods, which are the best foods for a sensitive stomach, in your regular diet by substituting variety for taste. However, you should be cautious about food allergies, and you can test your food sensitivity to any foods with home-based kits such as AFIL kits, which are premium and easy to use.
Ginger is good for relieving nausea and vomiting. It is also used for nausea and vomiting commonly associated with pregnancy, motion sickness, and chemotherapy. Although the mechanism behind the antiemetic effects of ginger is not precise, it has been explained that it might be due to its impact on the enteric nervous system, which also supplies the stomach. It is hypothesized that ginger increases the gastric emptying of stomach contents and provides relief. However, you should not consume more than 5 grams per day to avoid diarrhea and stomach pain.
You can consume ginger by eating it raw, cooking it with other foods, or steeping it in hot water or tea.
Chamomile is an herbal plant with small white flowers that has been traditionally used for stomach upset. People have been using chamomile for various digestive issues such as gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. However, there are not enough studies that support these claims despite their widespread use.
It is also used as an herbal supplement in babies to relieve symptoms of indigestion, gas, diarrhea, and bloating. It can be consumed orally as a supplement or its dried form can be consumed as a chamomile tea. Although chamomile is widely used for stomach upset, research is required to understand how it works.
3. Cooked vegetables
We are very familiar with the benefits of vegetables. In addition to providing a high quantity of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, vegetables are also rich in fiber, which is great for digestive health and stomach upset. However, fibers can be a double-edged sword, as too much can cause diarrhea and other symptoms of stomach upset such as bloating and gas. So, it is recommended to consume cooked vegetables as heat helps to break down these fibers and makes vegetables more digestible without compromising too many of their health benefits. So, it is better to consume cooked vegetables if you have a sensitive stomach.
4. Cooked fruits
It may sound odd to cook fruits. However, similar to vegetables, fruits also contain fibers that can worsen symptoms associated with a sensitive stomach. So, it is better to provide heat to the fruits such as peaches, pears, or strawberries to reduce the negative effects of the fruit and enjoy the taste and health benefits of the fruit.
Fruits are an important part of a balanced diet. So, you should not avoid fruits if you have stomach upset associated with fruit consumption.
5. Fermented foods
Stomach upset can also be a result of an imbalance in the gut microbiome, in such a way that there is an overgrowth of unhealthy microorganisms. In this condition, fermented foods help to balance the gut microbiome and provide relief from symptoms associated with stomach upset. These types of foods are called probiotics. Some common fermented foods are:
- Yogurt: Studies have shown that the consumption of yogurt can relieve symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. However, low-fat yogurt is a better option if you have a sensitive stomach. If you are sensitive to dairy, you have other alternatives to yogurt as mentioned below.
6. White rice
White rice is a good option for carbohydrates if you are suffering from recurrent stomach upset. White rice contains less fiber and is easier to digest in comparison to brown rice. So, white rice is better tolerated, especially when you are ill, but it does not provide symptomatic relief. Other bland carbohydrates like oatmeal, crackers, and toast might also be helpful for people with stomach upset.
However, since bland carbohydrates do not provide other nutritional benefits, they should be consumed in fewer amounts and you should expand your diet when your stomach feels better.
7. Green banana
Green bananas are found to be highly effective for the treatment of diarrhea by reducing the severity and frequency of loose stools. The anti-diarrheal effects of green bananas are due to a compound present in bananas called resistant starch. This starch is not digested and when it reaches the stomach it is fermented to short-chained fatty acids by the gut bacteria. This causes the absorption of water from the digestive tract making stool more firm and reducing the severity of loose stool. When bananas get ripened, the starch is converted to sugar and its effectiveness might reduce. However, bananas, in general, are easier to digest and provide a variety of nutrients such as magnesium and potassium.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that is easy to digest and also helps in the digestion of other foods resulting in the relief of symptoms associated with indigestion. It contains an enzyme called papain, which acts as a natural enzyme for the digestion of protein.
Sometimes stomach sensitivity is due to reduced production of digestive enzymes. In such conditions, papaya consumption is highly beneficial. Additionally, papayas have also been found useful for the treatment of stomach ulcers and constipation.
Not only fruit but papaya seeds are also consumed by people for their anti-parasitic effects and removal of parasites from the digestive tract.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are considered low-FODMAP foods. FODMAP foods are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These foods are fermented in the colon, causing excessive gas and bloating. They also absorb water into the digestive tract, causing diarrhea.
Since berries lack these types of carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and do not need to be cooked before eating, unlike other fruits.
Flaxseeds are fibrous seeds that regulate bowel movement and improve symptoms associated with stomach sensitivity, such as abdominal pain and constipation. Studies have also found flaxseeds to be highly effective for constipation.
They can be consumed in the form of seeds, muffins, or flaxseed oil.
11. Pectin containing foods
Pectin is a plant fiber that improves the symptoms of stomach upset such as diarrhea by increasing the absorption of water from the digestive tract into the blood. It is rich in fruits such as apples and citrus.
Pectin also balances gut bacteria by increasing the number of good bacteria and thus is effective for symptoms such as gas, bloating, indigestion, and abdominal discomfort.
A good amount of clear water is highly recommended for a sensitive stomach. It improves gut health and relieves symptoms such as constipation, indigestion, and abdominal discomfort. It also balances the fluid loss during diarrhea.
In addition to water, electrolytes are essential for the basic functioning of our bodies. During diarrhea and vomiting, you lose huge amounts of electrolytes from your body, which must be replenished to maintain blood pressure and other body functions. Thus, electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are very important for our bodies.
Foods and drinks rich in electrolytes are fruit juice, coconut water, and salted crackers. In the case of severe dehydration, a rehydration solution might be required.
Licorice is a herbal root that reduces symptoms associated with increased gastric acid production, such as heartburn, indigestion, stomach pain, and ulcers. It has been found that licorice consumption can reduce inflammation in the gut lining and also increase mucus production. It has also been found useful for reducing H. pylori overgrowth, which is a bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.
Broths in general provide soothing effects on the digestive system and allow the digestive system to heal properly. So, they are one of the best foods for a sensitive stomach. Bone broths are rich in nutrients and contain collagen, which also accelerates the healing of the gut lining.
There are certain foods that are considered best for the sensitive stomach as they are easy to digest, provide time for healing, reduce inflammation, and relieve symptoms associated with stomach upset.
Cooked fruits and vegetables, herbs like ginger and licorice, and broths provide natural soothing effects and allow healing.
A low FODMAP diet and probiotics can regulate bowel movement and prevent symptoms of stomach sensitivity.
It might be difficult to completely treat a sensitive stomach. The foods mentioned above can be considered the best foods for a sensitive stomach and will improve your gut health.
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