What’s Eating You?

Foods that Relieve Stomach PainChronic stomach pain isn’t fun – I used to be a chronic overeater, and it was tough to teach myself to put the fork down when I started to feel full. Once I got a handle on my overeating, I still suffered from stomach pain.

After many visits to internists we realized that I had IBS, otherwise known as irritable bowel syndrome, so I had to be conscious not only of how much I was eating, but what I was eating! Once I ditched the deep-fried food, processed sweets, and started to incorporate the right foods into my daily meals, my IBS slowly went away.

1. Ginger

Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, decreasing the pain of arthritis or even helping ease the pain of chemotherapy. My neighbor even uses it as a home remedy against heartburn. Ginger has natural compounds that work as a light analgesic and sedative, and its antibacterial properties make it the right choice to calm stomach pain. Many Asian recipes contain ginger, but if you want a fast way to try it just boil 2 tablespoons of sliced fresh ginger, then add your favorite tea bag.

2. Kefir

Traditional Kefir is a fermented milk product which contains a blended mixture of several live probiotics, instead of just one that you’ll find in most commercials yogurts. Some kefirs contain up to 10 different live cultures that can help stimulate digestion. These bacteria can also stop the growth of pathogenic microbes that can be the cause of stomach trouble. Most grocery chains carry kefir and it tastes very similar to your favorite yogurt. I use it as a base for my daily morning breakfast smoothie and just add in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand.

3. Cardamom

Cardamom is valued by herbalists for its amazing carminative, stimulant, laxative, calming yet vitalizing properties. It has been prized in ancient Indian medicine and cooking for its ability to improve digestion and has even been used to combat that embarrassing side effect of tummy aches, flatulence! Cooking with cardamom is easy, just use it sparingly since it can be overwhelming. Make yourself a traditional Indian chai tea as a great place to start.

4. Rooibos Tea

Rooibos or redbush comes from a bush that grows in Southern Africa. I love its golden red color when it’s steeped and the fact that it is caffeine free – since coffee and other caffeinated beverages can imbalance digestion and irritate the intestinal tract. People believe that red bush has the ability to calm stomach cramps because it works as an anti-spasmotic but I like it because it has a round, even flavor and also happens to be high in antioxidants like flavanols. You can find red bush in many flavors in your local grocery store. Its rich yet mellow flavor can be enjoyed hot or chilled as a superb iced tea for summer.

Update: Post Featured on Self.com

Self Magazine writer Merritt Watts woke up the other day with serious stomach aches – and when she researched the topic online, she came across this post. Merit admits, there is one person she never thought to turn to for eating advice – a chef! Read Merritt’s post »

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