Nat­u­ral ways to re­lieve an up­set stom­ach

The Leader (Nelson) - - YOUR HEALTH - Q: What are some nat­u­ral reme­dies for an up­set stom­ach? Joan A: Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health p

My ap­proach in ad­dress­ing chal­leng­ing symp­toms such as an up­set stom­ach or other di­ges­tive is­sues is al­ways to treat or sup­port what is at the heart of the symp­toms – what is caus­ing them. If you reg­u­larly ex­pe­ri­ence nau­sea, bloat­ing or ab­dom­i­nal pain, it’s essen­tial to un­der­stand what is caus­ing th­ese symp­toms as this will de­ter­mine what the best path for­ward for you will be. How­ever, I cer­tainly un­der­stand the need to re­lieve symp­toms when they do oc­cur.

De­pend­ing on the spe­cific symp­toms you ex­pe­ri­ence, there are a few nat­u­ral reme­dies that might help. For nau­sea and vom­it­ing, gin­ger can be very ef­fec­tive. Gin­ger can be taken in sup­ple­ment form, or you might like to try a gin­ger tea.

Pep­per­mint tea is an­other nat­u­ral rem­edy for di­ges­tive dis­com­fort. Pep­per­mint has an­ti­spas­modic prop­er­ties, which means it may help to pre­vent ab­dom­i­nal cramps, and it can also Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

as­sist with nau­sea.

I can’t en­cour­age you enough to pay at­ten­tion to what might be caus­ing your symp­toms. For ex­am­ple, does it hap­pen af­ter you eat par­tic­u­lar foods or foods pre­pared in a cer­tain way? Some­times it can be dif­fi­cult to pin­point ex­actly which foods are lead­ing you to ex­pe­ri­ence chal­leng­ing symp­toms so keep­ing a food and symp­tom di­ary for a few days can be help­ful to iden­tify any pat­terns.

In some cases, re­ac­tions to cer­tain com­po­nents of foods can oc­cur any­where from six to 48 hours af­ter you’ve eaten the food, so it’s not nec­es­sar­ily the most re­cent food you’ve eaten that is trig­ger­ing symp­toms such as bloat­ing or flat­u­lence.

How­ever, it may not be the food – stress can also con­trib­ute to bloat­ing and other di­ges­tive symp­toms. Try to no­tice if your symp­toms worsen when you are stressed. When we’re stressed, stress hor­mones are re­leased in the body and their ac­tion di­verts our blood sup­ply away from di­ges­tion to the pe­riph­ery, so that we are primed to either run away or fight the threat that our body per­ceives we are fac­ing.

The stress re­sponse also de­creases motil­ity of the di­ges­tive tract and re­duces the se­cre­tions that help to di­gest food. Stress re­duc­tion is there­fore essen­tial to sup­port great di­ges­tion. Any breath-fo­cused prac­tice is won­der­ful, as ex­tend­ing the ex­ha­la­tion is a way in which we can ac­ti­vate the calm arm of our ner­vous sys­tem. You might like to try yoga, tai chi, med­i­ta­tion or sim­ply breath­ing di­aphrag­mat­i­cally (long slow breaths that move the di­aphragm).

If you feel your di­ges­tive symp­toms are re­lated to stress or anx­i­ety, you might also like to try some chamomile tea. Chamomile is a mild seda­tive so it may help you to re­lax, which in turn helps to sup­port di­ges­tive pro­cesses in the body. Chamomile also has anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties and it may as­sist with ab­dom­i­nal cramps as it re­laxes mus­cle con­trac­tions in the in­tes­tine.

If you be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms af­ter trav­el­ling or af­ter a bout of food poi­son­ing, it’s im­por­tant to con­sult with your qual­i­fied health­care pro­fes­sional to check for in­fec­tive or­gan­isms. It’s also very im­por­tant to see your GP if you ex­pe­ri­ence on­go­ing or un­ex­plained di­ges­tive symp­toms, to rule out any sin­is­ter causes.

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Pep­per­mint has an­ti­spas­modic prop­er­ties, which means it may help to pre­vent ab­dom­i­nal cramps.

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