Common Stomach Problems

Daily Health Solutions, Digestive Health
on November 1, 2010


Thanksgiving favorites like yummy gravy, crispy poultry skin and creamy cheeses can boost stomach acid—and the burn in your chest. 

Treat it: Instead of an after-dinner peppermint (which may make heartburn worse), try chewing fennel seeds (available on the spice aisle at most grocery stores). The licorice-tasting seeds contain an amino acid used in many antacids. 

Prevent it: If you’re heartburn-prone, avoid acidic foods like those listed above, as well as caffeine and alcohol. In the kitchen, try roasting and baking instead of frying or sautéeing. Preparing food with little or no added fat reduces the likelihood of heartburn.

Home Remedy Reader Tip: Spry reader Roberta Newell shares, "Please tell people that almonds can greatly help with heartburn!" After suffering with heartburn during her first two pregnancies, Newell was tipped off to the soothing effects of almonds before the birth of her third child. "Craving Mexican food with my third child would normally send me to 'Heartburn City,' but not with a handful of almonds always nearby. Twenty years later, I still use them if I get heartburn."


Usually a harmless condition caused by improper digestion of food, bloating can cause cramps and even chest pain. 

Treat it: Try Beano. The over-the-counter gas-blocker contains an enzyme that helps break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars so that they’re absorbed in the small intestine instead of in the colon where they can cause gas and bloating. 

Prevent it: If gas and bloating are big problems for you, avoid fatty foods and eat high-fiber plant-based foods such as beans, raisins and broccoli in smaller amounts—they slow down digestion, giving food more time to ferment and release excess gas.


Food, medication, exercise, even gum and candy that contain artificial sweeteners can keep you running for the restroom.

Treat it: Look for an over-the-counter medicine such as Imodium Advanced that contains both loperamide and simethicone. That combination of ingredients helped participants in a recent University of Chicago study get rid of diarrhea faster than those who took loperamide only.

Prevent it: Certain strains of probiotics—beneficial bacteria found in some foods and supplements—may help keep diarrhea-causing bugs in check. Look for the lactobacillus, bifidus and acidophilus strains in yogurt, kefir (similar to drinkable yogurt) and buttermilk.