The Crunchy, Salty Probiotic You Can Eat With Your Fingers
For a dairy-free digestive aid, try pickles, suggests Beth McDonald, MS, RDN, CSSD, an integrative and sports nutritionist at theContinuum Center for Health and Healing, an integrative health program affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Like yogurt, they’re loaded with the kinds of probiotics that displace bad bacteria in the gut, so they, too, can help ease bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive issues. They’re an especially good choice for vegetarians and vegans (who may also want to try other fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as miso soup and tempeh).
Ginger already has a strong reputation for being able to reduce nausea and vomiting, and it also appears to relax the digestive tract, says McDonald, allowing food to pass through comfortably without getting caught up. For full potency, McDonald suggests a tea made from an inch of raw ginger root boiled in 10 ounces of water for 30 minutes (try it with honey). You could also try ginger candies — opt for the soft, chewable kinds, as sucking in extra air around hard candy can cause gas.
The Hot Beverage That Will Soothe Your Insides
Chamomile has been used for centuries in Europe to relieve gastrointestinal complaints. This herb is believed to aid in sleep, and, McDonald says, it may also have a sedating effect on the digestive tract, leading to reduced symptoms of reflux, abdominal pain and cramping as well as nausea and vomiting. It’s best consumed as a tea, she says. (Keep in mind that chamomile is part of the ragweed family, so those with allergies should talk to a doctor before brewing a pot.)
The Yogurt Cousin You Can Drink Straight Out Of The Bottle
Okay, we’re fudging a bit here, because whilekefir isn’t technically yogurt, it’s awfully close — which means it has the same optimal mix of probiotics (live “good” bacteria that maintain balance in the gut) and prebiotics (nondigestible carbs that act as food for the probiotics). The technical difference: While yogurt is created from milk by adding certain lactic acid bacteria, kefir is made by combining milk with a complex mixture of yeasts as well as lactobacillus bacteria. The difference that will matter to you: Kefir is usually found in liquid form, so it’s like a ready-made smoothie that you can drink on the go (no utensils necessary).
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