Stomach cramps. Gas. Bloating. Whether it’s a certain food that just didn’t sit well with you, overeating, anxiety, or a stomach virus, sometimes your tummy just feels icky. When that happens, you need relief. (Keep in mind that certain foods — dairy, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and even gluten — can do a number on your stomach, so you may want to try taking them out of your diet and seeing if your symptoms go away.)

If you’re looking to settle your stomach, try eating these foods.

1. Mint

Sip some mint tea and it will relieve gas and decrease cramping, says Jacqueline Wolf, M.D., physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide To a Healthy Stomach. “However, mint also relaxes the high pressure zone between the esophagus and stomach and may give some people heartburn.”

If you’re prone to heartburn, you might try chamomile tea or another soothing herb tea. Avoid sugarless mint gum because its artificial sugars may cause gas, bloating and burping, Wolf adds.

2. Rice

Rice is an easy-to-digest food that increases the absorption of fluid, says Dr. Wolf. Eating some white rice when you’ve had the runs may restore your stool to normal and make your stomach feel better because the starch of the rice will coat your stomach.

3. Ginger

To relieve nausea or vomiting, Dr. Wolf recommends ginger, which has anti-nausea properties. You can pour boiling water over slices of ginger and let it steep for several minutes, or find prepared ginger tea at your grocery store.

4. Aloe juice

Extracted from the aloe plant, which is commonly used to soothe burns, aloe juice has been known to coat your stomach and relieve heartburn and stomach aches. The juice, which is sold in health food stores, can also help push toxins out of your system and clear things out. But keep in mind that it can also act as a laxative, so watch how much you take.

5. Bananas

This easy to peel fruit is easy to eat—and digest when your belly feels blah. Bananas can help firm up your stool, says Claudia Gruss, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association and a practicing gastroenterologist at the Arbor Medical Group in Norwalk, Connecticut. They also have potassium, which is good for you if you’ve been unable to eat due to prolonged illness.

6. Toast

Toast is a good option when you feel a little hungry after stomach distress, says Dr. Gruss. Top it with some jam and you’ve got an easily digestible mini-meal that will be tolerated by your tummy and give your body some sugar as well.

And some health web sites suggest that the char that forms when you burn toast can have a soothing effect on the stomach, so you may want to try overcooking it a bit. 

7. Fennel

High in antioxidants, fennel is known to have natural anti-gas properties, and can also help flush toxins from your system. Try eating a half a teaspoon of fennel seeds, or cut some fresh fennel to chew on.

8. Apple cider vinegar

You know apple cider, but you may not know about this vinegar, which is a fermented juice made from apples. Upset stomach is sometimes believed to be caused by a lack of acid in the stomach, not too much acid, as is commonly assumed. When too little acid is the case, putting more acid in your tummy can help.

Apple cider vinegar also contains a host of nutrients including vitamin B and vitamin C. The vinegar itself can be strong to the taste, so mix a tablespoon or two in hot water, add a little honey, and you’ll be good to go.

9. Plain yogurt

Dr. Wolf says no studies show that this helps, but you may benefit from the probiotics in plain unsweetened yogurt, particularly if you have diarrhea that has been caused by a course of antibiotics. The yogurt could add healthy bacteria to your gut, which can reduce pain and make it feel better.

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Smoothie add-ins: 10 supplements that can boost health benefits

A good smoothie — mixed at home or store-bought — starts with a base of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Add the right supplements to your produce-packed blend to turn it into a nutritional powerhouse. Here are some top supplements dietitians recommend.

1. Protein powder

Why you want it: Protein helps rebuild muscles.

“You can get protein from whole food sources, like yogurt, cottage cheese, or tofu,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and weight loss expert with a virtual nutrition counseling practice based in New York City. “But many people find it more convenient to add a protein powder.”

Abby Langer, RD, of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto, agrees: “Protein powder is a plus. You’ll want 20+ grams of protein if your smoothie is a meal.” 

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2. Chia, hemp, and flax seeds 

Why you want them: These seeds are all good sources of healthful, anti-inflammatory fats that can lower your risk of chronic disease. “Chia is fantastic for fiber,” Langer says. “And I love hemp hearts for omegas and protein.” 

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3. Nut butters

Why you want them: Nut butters give you protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and also provide some vitamins and minerals. The fiber in nut butters is good for more than just your digestive system — it can help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check as well. Plus, nut butters also add a nice texture to your smoothie, Lander points out. 

Just keep an eye on your total fat. If you’re adding both seeds and nut butters to your smoothie you might be packing in too many calories. “A total of one to two tablespoons is a good range for most people,” Cassetty says.

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4. Collagen powder

Why you want it: Collagen powder may help protect your joints and tendons from wear and tear, and may reduce wrinkling. “Don’t use it in place of protein powder, though—it doesn’t help rebuild muscles,” Cassetty says.

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5. Walnuts

Why you want them: Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids, which could help reduce your risk of heart diseasedepression, and dementia. The fatty acids in walnuts could also help you stay calm and relaxed, since they help regulate dopamine and serotonin, says Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN, Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board member.

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6. Oats

Why you want them: Oats containa type of soluble fiber that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. They also add texture and a hearty flavor, Gellman points out.

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7. Turmeric

Why you want it: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been shown in some studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “Turmeric may be trendy for a reason,” Gellman says. 

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8. Cardamom

Why you want it: Cardamom can increase the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in your diet, says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN with The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Those compounds may help fight heart disease and cancer.

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9. Dark chocolate

Why you want it: High-quality dark chocolate may help alleviate anxiety by increasing serotonin levels. Just remember to go easy—chocolate can be high in calories. 

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10. Beetroot

Why you want it: Beetroot may raise nitric oxide levels in your body, which could help lung capacity, blood flow, and muscle contraction. That’s a plus for people who work out regularly.

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