There are few things in this world that are worse than an upset tummy, especially when it’s accompanied by nausea and vomiting. And whether it’s due to a stomach bug, indigestion or food poisoning, your only goal is to feel better ASAP. There are home remedies you can try to treat the problem.
For Linda Magazi (32) from Cala in the Eastern Cape, bicarbonate of soda is the miracle gift hidden in the back of her cupboard that keeps on giving.
To treat the occasional indigestion, Magazi makes a concoction of bicarb and warm water to ease her flames in her belly. This liquid remedies does wonders for her when it comes to curing an upset stomach, Magazi says.
Meanwhile Asavela Mntumni (28) from Hout Bay in Cape Town, says her go-to remedy for nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea is ginger. “I use ginger when my stomach is upset and when my digestive system is not working properly,” she says. “I grate the ginger and combine it with boiling water; I occasionally add honey to my ginger tea to make it a little sweeter. It has always worked perfectly.”
Her ginger tea concoction also assists in alleviating indigestion and occasional nausea and vomiting.
Listen to your body
Got tummy trouble? Well the first thing you must try to do, is to find out what the source of your tummy trouble is, says registered dietitian Michelle Hawksworth. And if you suspect food poisoning, the most important thing to do is stay hydrated.
Hawksworth explains that when we have food poisoning, your body loses fluids as well as *electrolytes. This can cause us to become dehydrated and can exacerbate our symptoms.
According to Hawksworth, having small sips of an electrolyte replacement such as Rehidrat or a drink such as Energade, Powerade or Lucozade will help. “The key is to have small sips throughout the day whilst you are ill. This will help keep you hydrated and replace the electrolytes that you are losing.”
If you do not have access to these drinks, you can make a basic replacement drink at home. “Mix half a teaspoon of salt and six teaspoons of sugar into one litre of clean water. If you are concerned about the safety of the water, you can boil the water, let it cool, add the salt and sugar, and drink it once it has cooled,” she suggests.
Hawksworth adds that when the frequency of vomiting and diarrhoea reduces and you start to feel hungry, you can start by having something bland to eat, such as a cracker, piece of bread or toast. Anything with a strong flavour, smell or taste may aggravate the nausea.
Other foods in your pantry that can help to settle your tummy:
Bananas: According to Medical News Today, bananas can help to replenish the *potassium and other electrolytes that you lose from vomiting or diarrhoea. Bananas also form part of the BRAT diet, an acronym that stands for, bananas, rice, apples and toast. These foods are bland and gentle on any upset tummy.
Chamomile tea: According to this 2010 study, chamomile tea is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to man. Chamomile helps to ease the pain of an upset stomach by acting as an anti-inflammatory medicine which helps the stomach relax and reduce cramps and spasms.
Peppermint: Registered dietitian Amy Shapiro tells The Cut that peppermint has a whole host of benefits for your health. Peppermint can aid in digestion, alleviate stomach gas, bloating and even helps with your bad breath.
Keeping it regular
For more regular bowel movements, Magzi also swears by smoothies with super booster foods like ginger, beetroot and mint. “I can go to the bathroom without difficulty or discomfort as a result of drinking the smoothies, which are high in antimicrobial properties and aid in the flushing out of harmful bacteria and amniotic fluid,” she says.
According to NDTV Food beetroot is full of fibre that helps to regulate the digestive process and alleviates constipation. Magazi tells Health For Mzansi that her smoothies also help her retain more water when she has a runny stomach and is in danger of becoming dehydrated.
*Health For Mzansi’s word of the day:
Electrolyte: An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolytes are essential for a number of functions in the body.
Potassium: Potassium is a mineral that your body needs to function. It is also an electrolyte and helps your nerves function and muscles contract.