An upset stomach is one of the more helpless and uncomfortable feelings you can experience. Your mother probably gave you plenty of advice about foods and home remedies that can settle your stomach. You may be surprised to learn that there is actually a scientific basis for many of those tips and that clinical studies have shown some of those foods to be effective in treating nausea brought on by different conditions, including pregnancy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Ginger has been used to treat stomach conditions as well as a variety of others illnesses for thousands of years (See Reference 1, page 3). Ginger can be consumed in several different ways, including as a spice in food and drinks, in tea, or in capsule or powder form (See Reference 1, page 3).
Many studies have been conducted that show that ginger can be an effective remedy for different types of nausea. In a study of 70 pregnant women with nausea and vomiting, 32 women received 1 gram of ginger a day for four days while 35 received a placebo. 28 of the 32 women receiving ginger had improvement in their nausea symptoms while only 10 out of 35 women in the placebo group reported a reduction in nausea. (See Reference 2). In another study funded by the National Cancer Institute, 576 cancer patients suffering from nausea related to chemotherapy were given different doses of ginger supplements before and after chemotherapy. All doses of ginger were effective at reducing nausea with lower doses being the most effective (See Reference 3).
Peppermint has a calming and numbing effect and is a common flavoring in toothpastes, gum, and teas (See Reference 4). Brushing your teeth, drinking peppermint tea, or sucking on peppermint candies can help to reduce nausea that occurs after meals (See Reference 1, page 3). A 1997 study by researchers in England showed that inhaling peppermint oils can relieve nausea in patients that have undergone major gynecological surgery (See Reference 5).
Carbohydrates are commonly recommended by doctors as remedies for nausea. In a survey of 488 obstetricians and gynecologists, 88.5% of those surveyed reported that they have recommended snacking on soda crackers to their patients to relieve nausea associated with pregnancy (See Reference 6). Eating simple, dry carbohydrates such crackers and biscuits before getting out of bed can be an effective remedy for dealing with morning sickness (See Reference 1, page 3).
Snacking on nuts and high protein foods can help to settle your stomach (See Reference 1, page 3). Studies have shown that meals high in protein may be effective at managing nausea. In a study by the University of Michigan Medical Center, nauseated women in their first trimester of pregnancy were given meals high in either protein, carbohydrates, or fat. Meals high in protein, which included liquid protein powder drinks and egg white, turkey, and ham omelets with white bread provided more relief from nausea and reduced abnormal electrical pulses in the stomach associated with nausea more than meals high in either carbohydrates or fats (See Reference 7).