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Food Poisoning Remedies: What Works When Your Tummy Hurts

Most of us have suffered through food poisoning at one time or another. It generally refers to a foodborne illness or infectious condition that stems from consuming food or drinking fluids that have been contaminated by certain bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals (toxins).

The process of contamination can occur at any stage of production or processing. Furthermore, if the food is improperly stored, handled, or prepared, it becomes increasingly susceptible to getting polluted by various infectious pathogens and toxins. While these contaminants cannot be eradicated from the food chain altogether, they can be kept in check by following proper and hygienic handling, cooking, and storage of food.

Note: Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Use home remedies only as an adjunct to treatment.

What Are the Common Causes of Food Poisoning?

Food can get contaminated in any of the following ways:

The foods that are most prone to getting contaminated are:

What Are the Tell-Tale Signs of Food Poisoning?

Some of the symptoms of food poisoning are:

How to Safeguard Yourself from Food Poisoning?

Primary Treatment for Food Poisoning

When to Consult a Doctor

Generally, food poisoning resolves on its own without any specific treatment, but you should your GP immediately if:

Medic for Food Poisoning

Note: The below-listed home remedies using simple and readily available kitchen ingredients were found to be effective in managing and relieving the symptoms or discomfort associated with food poisoning. However, you must bear in mind that food poisoning is a grave condition and can escalate to a life-threatening stage if not treated in a proper and timely manner. Thus, using these remedies in isolation without any medical help can prove to be detrimental and even fatal. It is well-advised to use these alternative therapies only in conjunction with the necessary medical treatment as prescribed by your GP.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for food poisoning.

1. Ginger is a Legitimate Digestive Aid

Ginger is an excellent home remedy for curing almost all types of digestive problems, including those caused by food poisoning. Given its antimicrobial attributes, ginger helps fend off foodborne pathogens and helps in the absorption of essential nutrients from the food, thus promoting healthy digestion.

Note: Ginger is found to impact insulin level in a positive way. Individuals with diabetes might need to adjust their insulin dose accordingly. Use this home remedy only if the symptoms you encounter are mild. However, in the event that the symptoms are severe, your doctor immediately.

2. Oregano Essential Oil Helps Eliminate the Bacteria

The two active compounds found in oregano essential oil, namely, carvacrol and thymol, boast potent antimicrobial properties that help eradicate some of the prime culprits of food poisoning – foodborne pathogens. Furthermore, oregano oil is also emerging as an effective food preservative that prevents food from going bad.

You can also use other essential oils such as thyme oil or lemon essential oil, which are equally effective against tummy bugs.

Note: It’s recommended to consult your doctor before taking any essential oils as an adjunct treatment for food poisoning.

3. Improve Your Digestive Functioning with a Bit of Apple Cider Vinegar

Although acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar has an alkaline effect due to the way it is metabolized in the body. It is precisely this mechanism at play that helps soothe the inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining, which is often associated with food poisoning. Moreover, it is effective against E. coli and other disease-causing bacteria due to its antibacterial properties.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Food Protection found that vinegar and aqueous extracts of virgin olive oil showed the strongest bactericidal activity against all strains of foodborne pathogens.

Note: Always dilute apple cider vinegar as directed because concentrated vinegar, being acidic in nature, may further disturb the stomach.

4. Fenugreek Seeds and Yogurt Makes for A Stomach-Friendly Combo

Yogurt has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help fight the bacteria at the root of your food poisoning. Plus, fenugreek seeds go a long way in palliating abdominal discomfort.

Note: This home remedy can be used along with the prescribed medical treatment to relieve the discomfort caused by food poisoning. Moreover, fenugreek has a hypoglycemic effect; therefore, patients with diabetes should use it cautiously, and they might need to adjust their insulin dosage accordingly. Fenugreek should be used in moderation during pregnancy, as overconsumption may cause early contractions or fetal abnormality.

5. Lemon Juice is a Detox Tonic

The anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of lemons can help speed up your recovery from a bout of food poisoning. The acid in lemons helps kill bacteria that cause food poisoning, and it is a renowned digestive aid as well.

A 2016 study published in Food Science and Nutrition found that lemon and lime juice concentrates exhibit good inhibitory and bactericidal activities against Staphylococcus aureus, which is one of the most common bacteria implicated in food poisoning.

Note: Always make fresh lemon juice and consume it immediately as storing the juice for a long time poses the risk of further contamination by pathogens and thereby aggravate the problem.

6. Basil May Help Relieve Abdominal Distress

Basil is an excellent herb to soothe the abdominal discomfort caused by food poisoning. It also has antimicrobial properties that help fight the microorganisms responsible for the problem.

You can get the benefits from basil in several ways.

Note: Use this home remedy as an adjunct treatment or if your symptoms are mild to relieve the abdominal discomfort.

7. Garlic Can Give You Symptomatic Relief from Food Poisoning

Garlic is also very effective in fighting food poisoning due to its strong antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It also relieves symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Note: Overconsumption of garlic may cause heartburn or the risk of bleeding problems. Tell your GP if you have stomach-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome or any scheduled surgery.

8. Treat Yourself to a Banana

Bananas are easy on your stomach because they are easy to digest. Plus, being rich in potassium, they help replenish your potassium stores that have been depleted due to the vomiting and diarrhea that follow in the wake of food poisoning. The high fiber content only acts as a bonus to give your digestive tract the much-needed help.

Eating just one banana will also help restore your energy level.

Note: Banana is recommended as a healthy and suitable food option to be consumed during a bout of food poisoning along with the conventional treatment and not as the treatment itself.

9. Trust the Healing Properties of Cumin

Cumin seeds, also called jeera, are a time-tested remedial agent to alleviate abdominal discomfort and stomach inflammation due to food poisoning.

10. Herbal Tea Can Help Soothe Your Digestive System

Sipping on different types of herbal tea can help your disturbed gastrointestinal system regain its balance. It also works to keep your body well hydrated.

Note: Consult your GP before adopting this remedy, especially if you are pregnant, have active allergies to certain ingredients, or are using it for children.

11. Honey is a Godsend for Treating Digestive Issues

Honey has both antifungal and antibacterial properties that can be effective for the treatment of indigestion and other food poisoning symptoms. Honey as a natural remedy can be taken in its pure form or added to tea.

Note: Although honey is safe for both children and adults, it should not be given to infants below 1 year of age as there is a risk of botulism toxicity.

Additional Tips

Resources:

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  2. M HI, H AM. Evaluation of Antimicrobial Activity of Ginger (Zingiberofficinale) Essential Oil Treated by Gamma Radiation. International Atomic Energy Agency. https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:40099180. Published January 1, 1970.
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  6. MEDINA EDUARDO, ROMERO CONCEPCIÓN, BRENES MANUEL. Antimicrobial Activity of Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Various Beverages against Foodborne Pathogens. Journal of Food Protection. http://www.jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X-70.5.1194. Published May 2007.
  7. Meghwal M, Goswami TK. A Review on the Functional Properties, Nutritional Content, Medicinal Utilization and Potential Application of Fenugreek. OMICS International. https://www.omicsonline.org/a-review-on-the-functional-properties-nutritional-content-medicinal-utilization-and-potential-application-of-fenugreek-2157-7110.1000181.php?aid=8944. Published August 29, 2012.
  8. Adolfsson O, Meydani SN, Russell RM. Yogurt and gut function. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/80/2/245/4690304. Published August 1, 2004.
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