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4 Easy Ways to Soothe an Upset Stomach


Go ahead and indulge in your favorite winter comfort foods and snacks — these natural fixes help avoid the GI upset that affects up to 72 percent of us this time of year. The best part? They work so well, you won’t have to reach for side effect–laden meds again to soothe stomach upsets. Next time your stomach is acting up, try one of these remedies!


When your stomach feels crampy and ugh after a heavy meal, take a quick trip to the fridge. Sounds counterintuitive, but eating 1/2 teaspoon of mustard (whether straight or on a cracker) provides fast relief. Stanford scientists say mustard seeds’ plant acids improve the digestion and absorption of fats, speeding stomach emptying (and quelling cramps in the process) in two minutes.


Close your eyes and imagine unraveling a ball of yarn. This wacky trick has the power to ease GI discomfort caused by bloat in 10 minutes. Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that visualizing a soothing task calms the nerves that control digestive function, easing painful bloat and GI spasms by 80 percent.

Backed up?

You love noshing on chicken wings and spinach dip while watching the big game, but could do without the constipation that often accompanies rich fare. To the rescue: magnesium oxide. Taking this mineral before bed helps GI muscles contract, improving bowel function in eight hours, according to a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. That’s better results than OTC laxatives provide. One to try: Oxy-Powder (Buy from, $29.95)


To alleviate symptoms in a hurry, boil a pot of “rice water.” Research in JAMA finds the drink, made from the starchy water left over after you cook rice, has a binding effect in the intestines that tamps down diarrhea quicker and more effectively than electrolyte drinks. To do: Boil one cup of rice in two cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a glass and sip!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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