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9 Foods That Help Relieve Nausea
Nausea is an uncomfortable feeling that may arise with or without warning where you feel like you need to vomit. Interestingly, the word 'nausea' is related to sea sickness and comes from the Greek word 'Naus' which means ship. Nausea is pretty common and statistics say that almost 50% of adults may experience this unpleasant sensation at some point each year.
When people feel nauseated, the thought of food may make them feel worse. However, there are some food options which may settle the stomach and provide energy for the body when a person gets nauseous. It begins in our brain where emotional, cognitive or chemical triggers stimulate the nervous system. This can cause the stomach muscles to work irregularly and make you feel nauseous or throw up.
The factors which may trigger nausea are viral gastroenteritis, motion sickness, cancer treatment and pregnancy. Furthermore, some other factors like infections, surgery, gut diseases, medications, hormone disorders and food allergies and intolerances may also cause nausea.
In this article, let us explore nine foods that help relieve nausea and understand how to prevent nausea.
Foods and Drinks to Relieve Nausea
Eating can be challenging when you feel nauseous. Nevertheless, some foods and drinks are important for hydration and may help in replacing the lost electrolytes to let the stomach settle down. Here are the nine best foods and drinks to relieve nausea.
Ginger has been extensively used to cure stomach problems in traditional medicines. It has bioactive compounds like gingerol, paradol and shogaol which interact with our central nervous system and stomach to improve nausea symptoms. Capsules of powdered ginger can be taken or one can try a cup of ginger tea, gingersnap cookies, ginger candy or a glass of ginger ale to reduce symptoms of nausea during motion sickness and pregnancy.
Water and Clear Beverages
During nausea, it is important to stay hydrated. Having small sips from a glass of plain water can prevent dehydration without increasing nausea. Some of the best clear beverages to fight dehydration and nausea may include sports drinks, iced tea, coconut water, clear juices, soda water and oral hydration solutions.
Sweet, caffeinated or dairy-based beverages can worsen nausea and hence, it is better to avoid them. In some people, excessive acidity in the stomach may induce nausea and drinking water dilutes the acidic state of the stomach. This soothes and eases nausea.
Bananas are energy-rich food that can help in the body's recovery. Sometimes, nausea caused by excessive acidity can irritate and harm the stomach membrane. This can induce a nauseous feeling. Bananas can promote the release of mucus from the stomach lining to create a barrier between the membrane and the acidic gastric contents. This way, bananas can soothe and relax an upset stomach and restore the body's average potassium content which might have been lost due to vomiting after nausea.
If nausea comes with dehydration, our body loses electrolytes during vomiting or diarrhoea. Starchy fruit like bananas restores potassium in the body which is an electrolyte.
Soups and broths may help our body to absorb more liquid and thereby restore electrolytes. This keeps our body hydrated during nausea. Furthermore, chicken broth is a rich source of vitamins, proteins and minerals which can be a perfect alternative for providing relief from nausea caused due to coughing in chest congestion.
Apples are a rich source of fibre and vitamins like A, B1 and B2. Fibre can help reduce nausea by slowing and easing the digestion process in the body. Moreover, apples can restore appetite and apple juice can help in controlling nausea.
Applesauce is also recommended for people with nausea and diarrhoea. It is a good source of carbohydrates and is gentle on the stomach. However, precaution must be taken that the smell of an apple may adversely affect the body or trigger a purge during nausea.
Dry foods like crackers, pretzels, cereals and toast may help when people are feeling nauseous. An empty stomach may worsen the nauseous feelings and in some cases, strong-smelling foods can adversely affect nauseous people.
Consuming dry foods which do not have a strong taste, aroma or any other nausea-inducing ingredient can help absorb stomach acids and settle the stomach when a person is feeling nauseated. These dry foods should be eaten slowly and eating a few before getting out of bed may help ease nausea in the morning.
Food items that contain strong odour can induce the brain to send signals to the body and develop the feeling of nausea. On the contrary, cold food like ice cream, chilled fruits, custard, yoghurt and frozen popsicles does not emit a strong odour. They can help highly smell-sensitive people, keep the body fluids down and prevent vomiting. Also, aversion to odour is pretty common during pregnancy and these cold foods can help replenish the fluids in the body.
During nausea, people are advised to consume bland and starchy foods which have a mild taste and do not upset the stomach. Rice is a food that can replace nutrients that the body has lost during vomiting and diarrhoea as well as provide calories to soothe the upset stomach. Rice is a rich source of carbohydrates and can help in the passive restoration of electrolytes in the body.
proteins can create enzymes for digestion and can help in overcoming digestive disorders. Moreover, protein can induce the release of gastrin secretion which thereby improves the digestive process and eases nausea. Nuts are the best source of proteins which can counter nausea. However, excessive consumption of protein may worsen nausea. Also, people allergic to nuts must avoid eating them.
How to Prevent Nausea?
To prevent the feeling of nausea or worsening of the symptoms, we can take the necessary precautions.
Avoid skipping meals − One of the primary causes of nausea is an empty stomach and hence, skipping meals should be strictly avoided.
Keep a check on the quantity − You can consume small amounts of food and water at regular intervals to keep the body hydrated and nourished.
Avoid lying down immediately after meals − Don't lie down immediately after having meals and keep a gap of at least 30 minutes to lie down.
Avoid cooking − Cooked food may trigger nausea and hence, you must avoid cooking food especially when you are feeling nauseous.
Maintain proper dental hygiene − Keeping your mouth clean from the inside and maintaining proper dental hygiene can prevent feeling nauseous. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth regularly to keep it clean preventing nausea due to infections.
Along with these precautions, avoid eating and drinking the following types of foods and beverages when you feel nauseous −
Fatty, greasy or fried foods
Foods with strong odours
Nausea is an unpleasant sensation that makes eating and drinking difficult for anyone. This uncomfortable feeling may go away with time. However, if nausea persists over a few days, you must consult a healthcare provider immediately as it may be an indication of some serious health ailment.
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