5 best foods for a healthy stomach

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Oct 06, 2015 07:05 AM EDT

Frequent upset stomach episodes can ruin a perfectly good day. Nausea, cramping, bloating and diarrhea are enough to call in sick and make a dent in one's social calendar. Maintaining a healthy stomach is all about being mindful about food consumption. Here are a few foods to keep in mind in order to maintain a healthy digestive system.

1. Papaya. For those whose bowel movements are irregular, try consuming papaya, which provides enzymes papain and chymopapain, which according to Shape helps break down proteins and promote healthy acidic environment. It helps with constipation because it contains high levels of fiber and water. Medical News Today reports that the beta-carotene found in papayas have an inverse effect on the development of colon cancer.

2. Bananas. These naturally individually-wrapped fruits are great for bringing to work or a post-workout snack. Shape reports that the pectin in bananas naturally helps firm up bowel movements, so it's great for those who are suffering from diarrhea. Additionally, LiveScience reports that it contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, magnesium, and potassium. Bananas help fill the stomach up after a bout of diarrhea (which can make one feel weak and dehydrated) and restore energy. It also provides 10% of the daily value for fiber.

3. Ginger. According to Livestrong, ginger helps in toning the intestinal muscles and stimulating food particle breakdown, activities which promote motility in the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger is best known for relieving nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, but it may also soothe gas pains and assist in digesting and metabolizing fats.

4. Peppermint Tea. POPSugar reports that researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia found that peppermint tea helps activate an "anti-pain" channel in the colon, thereby relieving a person from IBS. Dr. Stuart Brierly explained, "peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibres, particularly those activated by mustard and chilli."

5. Coconut water. Health suggests taking coconut water because it restores electrolytes that are lost from diarrhea. It's also high in vitamin C and potassium. Nutritionist Karen Poole told Huffington Post, "[Coconut water] is said to replace essential electrolytes (potassium and sodium) lost during a high energy exercise session and boasts no added sugar or fat and has a low carbohydrate content, so I guess it makes sense to those looking to improve their fitness levels and achieve efficient weight management."

Coconut water is a fat-free drink that contains healthy omega fatty acids and 600 milligrams of potassium per serving.

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