4 Foods That Settle an Upset Stomach

Too many of these delicious bad boys? Illustration via iStock

 

Overeating. It happens. Here’s what to do if you’ve eaten too much.

Ginger

In China, people have been using ginger for thousands of years to help salve nausea and improve digestion. Researchers think the active ingredients in ginger—volatile oils and phenol compounds—may give it its anti-nausea properties but no one is sure. Studies show that taking ginger might help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women and nausea in chemo patients as opposed to a placebo, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In some studies, ginger also helps with motion sickness, but it doesn’t work as well as over-the-counter motion sickness medications. Overall, there’s no scientific consensus. If ginger seems to help you, go for it. Just make sure you talk to your doctor before taking ginger because it can interact negatively with blood thinners and high blood pressure and diabetes medications.

Bananas

It seems counter-intuitive to eat more when you’re feeling sick, but bananas are a good solution to an upset stomach. In a small study of 46 people, taking banana powder for 8 weeks reduced upset stomachs for 75 percent of participants, according to a journal article in The Lancet. So next time your tummy is rumbling, give banana a try!

Peppermint

The flavoring that lends its signature taste to everything from ice cream to Christmas candy is also helpful for preventing indigestion, according to How Stuff Works. Peppermint contains compounds that help relax the muscles in your digestive tract, which can reduce the length and severity of your food coma indigestion. Drink some peppermint tea before and after a big meal to get the full benefits.

Licorice Root

Unfortunately for anyone with a sweet tooth, chowing down on licorice candy won’t make your stomach feel better—in fact, we’re pretty sure that it’ll make things worse. Instead, go for licorice root. That’s part of what gives black licorice it’s unique taste. Licorice root is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that could shorten the life of an upset stomach, according to Bon Appétit. If you’re feeling blah, drink some licorice root tea to help calm your troubled tummy.

Get Our Weekend Newsletter

The best DC news, delivered straight to your inbox.
Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato is a freelance science, health, and environment reporter based in Washington, DC, whose work has appeared in National Geographic, NPR, Scientific American, The Atlantic, Newsweek, and Nature.