If you're someone who frequently experiences an upset stomach or indigestion, you know how particular you have to be about what you eat. Even though at times it can be hard to tell what's right for you, you know you have to opt for foods that are OK to eat if you have a sensitive stomach, and you avoid anything that can have you running for the bathroom. Nothing is worse than a debilitating stomach ache after every time you eat, so it's important to tailor your diet to be filled with foods that sooth your stomach rather than cause it to rumble in pain.
"Eating out or just eating throughout a typical day can be a complete and total nightmare if you suffer from stomach issues caused by certain foods," says Maggie Michalczyk, RD over email. "The thought of trying a new restaurant or cuisine becomes nauseating when you think about how your stomach might feel afterwards."
A sensitive stomach can be a result of the foods you eat, acid reflux, or even anxiety, but if you know you are at risk of indigestion, it's wise to stick to foods that make you feel good after eating them. If you have a sensitive stomach, try incorporating these seven foods into your diet, which can help ease your digestion and are easy on your body.
"This fermented probiotic drink is a total gut saver," says Michalczyk. "Made up of B vitamins and as many probiotic strands as found in many supplement forms, this tart and bubbly combination really takes the edge off of an upset stomach. The bacteria found in the drink introduce beneficial bacteria to your stomach, essentially balancing your digestive system and keep stomach acids within the right ranges."
"Ginger contains gingerol, a substance with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties," says holistic nutritionist Karen Brennan, MSW, NC over email. "It can ease indigestion and stomach discomfort. Use it in tea, mince some and add to vegetable dishes or suck on mini candied ginger."
"It turns out the Germans and the Polish knew what they were doing all along with this one," says Michalczyk. "Sauerkraut is bursting with lactic acid bacteria, similar to the bacteria found in kombucha and other fermented foods that aim to boost digestive health." Made with fermented cabbage, sauerkraut is a great addition to salads and sandwiches.
Kefir is another fermented food beneficial for digestive health. "I consume a cup every morning to help keep my digestive system healthy," says Brian Tanzer, nutritionist at Vitamin Shoppe, over email. According to WebMD, kefir is used for poor digestion, upset stomach, lactose intolerance, and diarrhea.
"Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, so it's very good for an irritated and inflamed gut," says Brennan. "You can mince some and add to tea, curry dishes, or sauté into vegetable dishes."
Papaya is not only a delicious tasting fruit, but it contains natural enzymes that can help ease your stomach problems. "[Papaya] contains the substance papain, which is an enzyme that helps to break down protein and will help in the maintenance of digestion," says Nesochi Okeke Igbokwe, M.D. over email.
"Oatmeal is quite gentle on the stomach and it is a good source of whole grains and soluble fiber which promotes digestion," says Igbokwe. Pair it with other high-fiber foods such as berries for double the stomach-soothing properties.
Everyone reacts differently to certain foods, so try these foods out to see which work best for your body. "If you are frequently having issues with a sensitive stomach, keep a food diary and determine which items give you the most problems," says Igbokwe. "Speak to your doctor, and discuss which foods are best for the specific gastrointestinal symptoms you experience."
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