Over the weekend I met up with a girlfriend who’s in the middle of trying to sort out a whole host of stomach issues. She describes the situation as incredibly frustrating. Figuring out what to do and not do can feel all-consuming. What really struck me about that conversation is how often I seem to be having it. Women, I recently learned, are six times more likely than men to suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
A while back, I was assigned a story for Woman’s Day about how to deal with stomach problems ranging from bloating to acid reflux. It was a great opportunity to tap the brains of some eminent resources–from nutritionist Joy Bauer to Gerard Mullins, a Johns Hopkins professor who’s publishing an academic book on digestion. I found out, for example, that mints are bad to eat if you have heartburn; they relax the esophagus making it more likely for fluid to come up (mints make you burp, which is why restaurants serve them). Magnesium–find it in spinach, broccoli, squash, and basil–helps relieve constipation.
Exercise, for its part, can be an incredible remedy for bloating (you lose salt and excess water through sweat and the motion helps gas move through your stomach faster). And eating dry foods, like crackers, can help with nausea.
There are many more tips in the piece. To go with it, we also put together a slideshow of foods with positive digestive effects. Papaya, for instance, contains an enzyme that helps break up irritating foods. And oat bran packs a double fiber punch, containing both soluble and insoluble kinds. (For even more power foods, like licorice to reduce stress-induced stomach inflammation and olive oil to ward off ulcers, check out this Svelte post as well.)
Given how extensive and pervasive stomach problems can be, the story probably barely cracked the surface. But I’m hoping you might get an idea or two. And, of course, if you have your own insight or remedies, I’d really love to hear them!