Nutrition 12 Best Foods for An Upset Stomach (+ Why They Work)

Nutrition: 12 Best Foods for An Upset Stomach (+ Why They Work)

The best way to stay regular is to exercise, eat a healthy, fiber-rich diet, and drink plenty of water. But if you have trouble going, certain foods can help. It’s not the only factor, but fiber — which adds to the size and water content of your stool — is key. Women should shoot for 21 to 25 grams a day, and men, 30 to 38.

Keeping yourself regular is the cornerstone of a healthy life. It rids the body of toxic waste and keeps the digestive tract moving smoothly. Did you know healthy digestion has been linked to better mood, weight management, a clear complexion, and a better overall wellbeing?

We’ve all been there- doubled over in pain with gas, bloating or constipation due to something bad we ate. During times like this, food might be the last thing on your mind. But the truth is that the right foods can help you ease your symptoms and fight an upset stomach the natural way without the use of harsh medications.

Sometimes, the worst thing you can do when you have an upset stomach is to avoid food as you likely need something healing with lots of fiber and anti-inflammatory properties to help pass whatever is in your system. Here are the 12 best foods for an upset stomach along with an explanation as to why they work.


Ginger should always be your go-to when you have an upset stomach. It contains a substance known as gingerol that has been shown to relieve nausea and indigestion fast, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger is especially useful for the treatment of morning sickness and vomiting after surgery due to chemotherapy. It also reduces muscle pain and soreness, which is helpful if abdominal pain is one of your symptoms. One study found that ginger helps relieve an upset stomach because it speeds up the process by which the stomach empties itself. And the quicker you get the bad stuff out, the sooner you’ll feel better. Taking ginger in capsule form when you have an upset stomach with a full glass of water is best when you have an upset stomach. If you have recurring stomach troubles, you might want to make ginger part of your daily supplement regimen.


Oatmeal sounds pretty dull, but it’s a good stick to your ribs food with a bland taste that won’t cause further stomach problems for you. Plus, it’s full of both soluble and insoluble fiber to help move the contents of your stomach out of your system. Many people get an upset stomach when they get an urge to go to the bathroom but can’t do the deed. Adding more bulk fiber to your diet can help ease the pain of bowel movements. It can also help keep you regular so that you don’t have this problem again in the future. Make sure your oatmeal is gluten free and organic if possible. Be sure not to add any refined sugar as this will make your stomach worse. Raw honey, blueberries, and some flaxseeds are all full of tummy-soothing ingredients that should help ease your tummy trouble.

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Slippery elm is an herb with mucilaginous properties, which means that it helps soothe the mucosal lining of your gut by coating it with a protective layer. Research shows that slippery elm improves the symptoms of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome such as a bloated stomach, gas, straining, and diarrhea by 20 percent. It also improves stool consistency to make it easier to go. Slippery elm is often used to treat diverticulitis as well as diarrhea. You can take it in supplement form or sip on slippery elm tea for fast relief from an upset stomach. Or get creative and sprinkle slippery elm powder onto your oatmeal first thing in the morning to prevent a problem before it occurs.


Let’s face it. You can’t just eat nothing when your stomach hurts, even though food is probably the last thing on your mind. Bananas are generally pretty easy to digest, which makes them a good option for someone with stomach trouble. Plus, they are loaded with prebiotic fiber, which is the fuel that the good bacteria in your gut feeds off. This can help improve the overall health of your gut by support a healthy microbiome. Bananas also contain a unique type of fiber called pectin that is commonly found in over the counter laxatives to help you go. For a safe meal, try adding bananas to gluten-free oatmeal and a scoop of almond butter for protein and fat to help sustain you.


While we’re on the topic of gut health, it’s hard to ignore the most important supplement for your stomach of all. Probiotics aid in the development of all the good bacteria in your gut, which can significantly reduce symptoms of an upset stomach. They are soothing and work almost instantly to reduce bloating and gas. Probiotics help keep you regular and work best when you take them on a daily basis. Most people take a probiotic capsule daily while others try to eat a lot of naturally fermented foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, and miso. If you’ve never taken a probiotic before, be sure to start slow. If you take too many at once, it could make your stomach pain worse.


Mint doesn’t just leave your breath smelling fresh. It also aids in the digestive process to relieve unwanted symptoms. This is because mint has a calming and soothing effect on the stomach and increases the secretion of bile in the liver, which helps ease digestion. Peppermint has also been shown to relieve abdominal pain due to gas and bloating. You can drink peppermint tea after meals to help keep flatulence down or chew on a few mint leaves for the same effect. If anyone asks, just tell them that it helps freshen your breath. No one needs to know of your tummy troubles! Be cautious when chewing mint gum as most gums contain sugar or sugar alcohols, which can make your stomach feel worse.

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You might be familiar with using aloe vera topically on your skin when you have a sunburn, but did you know that you can ingest aloe and get the same soothing effects on your tummy? Aloe is loaded with nutrients, including 75 different active compounds. It has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and 20 out of the 22 amino acids with eight out of eight essential amino acids. In other words, aloe vera has everything you need to repair a damaged system. It works by flushing toxins out of the body that is causing pain. You can find 100 percent pure aloe vera juice at any health store, but don’t drink too much because it has a laxative effect if over consumed.


Fennel is an herb with natural anti-gas and anti-bloating properties. It contains aspartic acid, which has carminative properties that help expel gas from the stomach to provide instant relief. It also has anti-acidic properties that are commonly used in many antacid remedies to treat indigestion. When you eat fennel seeds, it acts as a laxative to help clear the bowels. The essential oils in fennel also have a stimulatory effect on the peristaltic motion of the intestines, which means that it quite literally pushes fecal matter out of your system where it can’t cause pain anymore. Try chewing on fennel after meals or even adding a few fennel seeds to your dishes to avoid any future problems and help support the digestive process.


Not only is papaya incredibly sweet and delicious, but it also contains the enzymes papain and chymopapain to help break down hard to digest proteins. It also soothes the stomach by encouraging a healthy environment, thanks to its high fiber and antioxidant properties. Eating papaya can help ease digestion, promote a bowel movement, and prevent constipation. Some research shows that it can even help relieve ulcers, too. Most people find that eating papaya in its fresh fruit form is most enjoyable, but it can be hard to find. Look for papaya extract in supplement form. It’s usually added to vitamins as a digestive enzyme due to its ability to help digest protein. Try taking some at meals where you know you’ll be eating lots of protein to help with the digestive process.

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Sometimes when you have an upset stomach, bland is best. It doesn’t get much safer than eating boiled potatoes. They are high in starch to help soak up any excess stomach acid that makes you feel sick or nauseous. Plus, when you eat them hot with a bit of sea salt, they are very comforting. You can add a little bit of chicken broth for added nutrients to help you stay hydrated. The chicken broth also adds some flavor to the potatoes. Boiled rice also works well as it’s high in starch and can fill an empty tummy quickly. Not to mention, rice is high in fiber to promote digestion. Stay away from gluten when you have an upset stomach as it tends to provoke an inflammatory response to make your symptoms worse.


Pineapple contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme known as bromelain that is especially beneficial for gut health and tissue healing. Enzymes assist with the breakdown of protein, so it’s a good idea to take bromelain at meals for instant relief. It also helps reduce inflammation in the colon by inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines that damage the gut so that you can absorb your nutrients more efficiently. Many people use bromelain to help heal their gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, constipation, and peptic ulcers. Additionally, bromelain is good at reducing inflammatory pain associated with an upset stomach. Try adding pineapple to your diet to reap the benefits of bromelain, or take it in supplement form.


Coconut water is the clear liquid that you find inside a young coconut. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is high in electrolytes, which can help ease stomach cramps and pain due to an upset stomach. Coconut water also keeps you hydrated to aid in the digestive process. If your stomach hurts because you’re constipated, then drinking water is key. This is because the longer fecal matter sits in your digestive tract, the more water is drawn from it, making it harder to move. Coconut water delivers over 14 vitamins and minerals to help restore gut health. It also contains phytonutrients and electrolytes from natural sugars to help keep things moving. Look for coconut water that isn’t pasteurized and don’t contain any additives or preservatives so that all the nutrients are still intact.

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