What is it?
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a rich meal that sends you straight to the bathroom, or that familiar bloated, rock-in-stomach feeling. “An unsettled tummy can be caused by a number of things, including a virus,” says Prevention’s advising GP, Dr Joe Kosterich.
“Another big area of interest is gut bacteria and how an imbalance can lead to problems.” Issues can strike via heartburn, gas and constipation, not to mention the notoriously tricky-to-treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Whatever the cause, make this round-up of stomach soothers your new bathroom read. Then get ready to feel better (and lighter!) fast.
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS
Keep a food diary to: 1. more precisely pinpoint what sets off your symptoms; and 2. take it with you to a dietitian if it comes to that.
“Initially, the key to a healthy gut or easing an upset stomach is making lifestyle changes,” explains Katherine Baqleh, accredited practising dietitian and founder of Health Victory Nutrition Experts.
“Simple things will make a difference, like eating a balanced diet with lots of fibre, drinking plenty of water, having small and regular meals and chewing your food properly.”
Also, introduce prebiotic and probiotic food sources: think legumes, onion and banana for the former, and yoghurt, kimchi and miso for the latter.
CUT FOODIE CULPRITS
Want to ease acid-induced heartburn? Limit spicy, fried or fatty dishes as well as chocolate (sorry!), tomato-based sauces and coffee. Stay upright for two to three hours after eating to stop acid creeping upwards.
Gassy? Avoid fizzy drinks and foods that will ferment in your gut over time, such as broccoli, cauliflower, beans and bran.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH FIBRE
If you need to get… erm… unstuck, the content in oats, beans, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegies softens stools for a quicker exit.
After real superstars? Then add artichoke, lima beans, peas, prunes and avocado to your shop.
Water is a big help, too, so fill up that bottle!
TRY SOOTHING HERBS
When you’re feeling unsure about the curry your friend’s planning for that catch-up dinner, put the kettle on for a mug of peppermint or ginger tea.
“These herbs aid digestion and reduce that gassy feeling,” explains Baqleh.
Alternatively, try a dose of peppermint oil—around 187mg 30 minutes before the meal. Then go ahead and enjoy that curry!
CALM YOUR INNER VOICE
Ever find problems striking ahead of an important meeting or when you’re worried about something?
‘Nervous tummy’ is a saying for a reason.
Stress and anxiety can have a huge effect on the gut, so managing that can sometimes help tackle the issue.
Look into yoga or meditation classes to help you keep daily stress at bay.