There’s a reason your mom gave you ginger ale for an upset tummy: For centuries, ginger has been used for its stomach-soothing properties. But it’s not the only culinary spice or herb with such powers.
“Herbs and spices are typically used in cooking because they provide aroma,” says registered dietician Wahida Karmally, who has a doctorate in public health and is the director of nutrition at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University. But they also contain phytochemicals (plant-based compounds) with healing properties that help decrease inflammation, stimulate the immune system, fight viruses and bacteria – and, yes, soothe digestive distress, she says.
So if you’re prone to stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn, or other gastrointestinal upset, consider adding some of these stomach-soothing herbs and spices to your meals.
Although it’s usually thought of like a breath freshener, peppermint also has an antispasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal tract that helps relieve gas. As a result, it can calm stomach cramps, soothe indigestion and ease IBS. In fact, research from Italy found that treating IBS with peppermint oil improves symptoms by more than 50 percent after four weeks.
How to use it: Use fresh peppermint leaves to make tabbouleh, a refreshing Middle Eastern salad that features bulgur, parsley, tomato, onion, lemon juice, and mint. You can also add fresh peppermint leaves to juice or iced tea, or you can brew a pot of peppermint tea.
Caution: If you have heartburn, avoid peppermint tea. It can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter and make heartburn worse, says Dr. Cindy Yoshida, a gastroenterologist in Charlottesville, Virginia, and author of No More Digestive Problems.
For generations, fennel seeds have been used to ease heartburn, as well as soothe colic and gas in infants. While studies have yet to be done on how effectively fennel treats heartburn, Russian researchers have confirmed that it does in fact decrease the intensity of colic when compared to a placebo. It also works for adults, says Karmally, because “it has a very soothing effect on the stomach and helps digestion”.
How to use it: Braise fresh fennel bulbs, chop or slice them, then eat them as a side dish. You can also add them to soups, stews, or salads. Karmally recommends munching on a few fennel seeds after a meal to promote good digestion.
This ancient spice can improve sluggish digestion and reduce gas. But its real claim to fame is its ability to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting caused by pregnancy, motion sickness, chemotherapy, or surgery.
How to use it: To soothe nausea, add a thin slice of fresh ginger to a glass of club soda, brew a cup of ginger tea, or suck on dried or candied ginger. To prevent flatulence and aid digestion, Karmally suggests adding slices of fresh ginger to gas-producing dishes – like black bean soup or a veggie-rich stew – or simply grating it into the pot while you’re cooking.
While often used as a garnish, parsley also prevents indigestion and reduces the production of intestinal gas. It’s also a natural diuretic that eases fluid retention, which can cause belly bloating.
How to use it: Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs around. Toss a handful of chopped parsley into a salad, or add fresh or dried parsley to soups, stews, pasta dishes, and more.
A favorite spice in Spanish, French, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, saffron stimulates digestion and appetite, soothes the stomach, and has anti-inflammatory properties, says Karmally.
How to use it: Crush saffron threads and use them in rice, fish stews, chicken dishes, soups, or curries. You can also mix saffron with mayo and make chicken or turkey salad – perfect for Christmas leftovers!
Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.news24.com by Stacey Colino where all credits are due.
The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah®. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah® in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah® or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.
Dr. Farrah® is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah® has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.
Dr. Farrah® promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Dr. Farrah® does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah® does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.
To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind.
Dr. Farrah® hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.