If you’ve never had food poisoning, count yourself lucky. It starts with mild discomfort; progresses to nausea and sweating; and turns into something very unpleasant. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for food poisoning; resting and staying hydrated are the usual prescriptions. There are, however, a handful of at-home therapies that can help ease symptoms as you go through the worst of it. Read on to learn more.
What causes food poisoning?
It’s not as simple is “bad food.” Foodborne illness is caused by norovirus, a contagious virus that can be contracted by eating, drinking, or touching contaminated substances, or direct contact with a person who’s been infected, says the CDC. The most commonly contaminated foods are fresh fruits, leafy greens, and shellfish, and it’s common for the virus to be spread in settings where people are eating and interacting in close quarters, like cruise ships, restaurants, and schools. Symptoms of infection include stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. To avoid norovirus infection, thoroughly was all fresh produce before eating, make sure any shellfish you eat is properly cooked, and keep your hands clean.
Natural Ways To Ease Food Poisoning Symptoms
Still, there are times when no matter how careful you are, you get sick. While you might not feel like consuming anything at all when you’re nauseas, eating and drinking the right things could help you feel better. See these easy, natural ways to ease your discomfort.
Sip ginger tea.
You know it’s important to stay hydrated, but nausea can make even water hard to keep down. Enter ginger tea. Sipping a cup replenishes fluids while breaking up gas in your intestines to settle your stomach. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of ginger in reducing nausea — even for people experiencing nausea related to pregnancy, chemotherapy, and seasickness.
Follow the BRAT diet.
Foods high in fat or fiber are hard on an ailing digestive system. But the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) fuels your body without overwhelming your GI tract. Plus, experts say it eases diarrhea by firming your stool. For added relief, sip rice water. It has a binding effect on the intestines, nixing diarrhea quickly.
Opt for a timing trick.
Whether you’re sipping water, tea, or broth, proper hydration is key to replacing the fluids you’re losing due to vomiting and diarrhea from food poisoning. To keep your fluid levels up, set a timer to remind you to sip 1 ounce every 15 minutes. This slow-and-steady sip schedule keeps you hydrated, speeding your recovery and helping you regain strength.
Try olives this way.
Supplementing with olive leaf extract daily may have antiviral effects, says research. Olive leaf is rich in virus-killing oleuropein. Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated in the same way that prescriptions are, and are not approved by the FDA. Olive leaf extract may also cause side effects like heartburn and stomach irritation, which may not be ideal if you’re suffering from food poisoning. Talk to your doctor about dosage, and whether or not this supplement is right for you.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.