It’s been weeks since the holiday season and many of you are still probably wishing you were at home enjoying feasts with loved ones, out partying with friends, or getting ready for reunions. One of the best things about the holiday season is food. Admit it or not but you probably let go of yourself and had a bite too many. And with all that food there’s always the risk of food poisoning, especially if you don’t know how the food was prepared. It’s a good idea, therefore, to be wary of the many ways to treat food poisoning naturally. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you should be cautious of where you’ll be taking your significant other on your date. You should also know how to avoid food poisoning if you’re planning to cook for him or her.
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Causes and Symptoms of Food Poisoning
The main culprits behind food poisoning are harmful organisms such as bacteria. Some contaminants that cause food poisoning include campylobacter, E. coli, Hepatitis A, listeria, rotavirus, salmonella, and staphylococcus aureus. These can be spread through raw or undercooked food, unwashed food, infected food handlers, and other ways.
Once you’ve eaten contaminated food, you have hours before the symptoms start showing. There are cases that the symptoms come out in days or even weeks,
Common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. You may need to visit your doctor when you see blood in your vomit and stool, vomit too frequently, or if you have diarrhea for more than three days.
If you experience severe abdominal cramping, muscle weakness, blurry vision, tingling in the arms, or have an oral temperature of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), you should seek medical attention, as well.
Finally, if you have dry mouth, feel dizzy or light-headed, severely weak, extremely thirsty, feel your heart pounding, and can’t urinate, you may be dehydrated. You’ll need to see a doctor right away.
Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning
Before you even think of the natural ways to treat food poisoning, you should focus on avoiding it first. The list is pretty simple and should be pretty easy to follow as long as you put your mind on being safe and healthy all the time.
The most obvious way to prevent food poisoning is to not eat contaminated food. However, it’s hard to know sometimes if your food is still okay to eat if there are no tell-tale signs.
Wash Hands Properly
Always wash your hands properly. When we say properly, we mean using soap and clean water. We also mean singing the Happy Birthday song at least twice or reciting 1-Mississippi to 15-Mississippi while scrubbing your hands including the back, between the fingers and under your nails. That takes about 20 seconds, which is the same amount of time needed to kill most of the germs on your hands
Wash your hands right before eating or handling food. When you’re the one preparing the food you should also keep your hands clean. After touching raw meat, wash properly before handling other ingredients.
Wash your hands after going to the toilet, sneezing or coughing in your hands, blowing your nose, gardening, touching animals, and other tasks or actions that leave your hands dirty.
Dry Hands Properly
Use air dryer or dry clean cloth to dry your hands. Don’t use a damp cloth or one that hasn’t been washed in a while. Kitchen or dish towels contain E. coli and other bacteria. When you use one to dry your hands, it may feel like it is helping but you’re actually making things worse for you. Dish towels should be washed regularly. Buy a number of dish towels so you always have clean and dry ones to use.
Clean your worktop before and after preparing your meals. This is particularly necessary after handling raw meat, eggs and vegetables. Use hot and soapy water.
Separate Raw Meat
Make sure your raw meat is separate from the ready-to-eat foods. Don’t let them touch each other while preparing your meal. You also need at least two chopping boards, one for raw meat and one for your other raw ingredients. Ideally, you should have another one for your ready-to-eat foods such as fruits and herbs. If you use just one chopping board for everything, you risk contaminating the ready-to-eat ones with bacteria from raw food.
It’s also a good idea to have double bowl kitchen sink. You can wash your raw meat in one side and your produce in the other bowl.
Cook Meat Well
Make sure you cook the meat well. Raw and under-cooked meat is one of the main causes of food poisoning.
Ways to Treat Food Poisoning Naturally
There’s only so much you can do to avoid food poisoning. The risk is always there especially if you eat out or if you’re the host of a reality show where you eat the most bizarre dishes around the world. That’s why everybody needs to know what to do in case you get food poisoning.
Before we proceed with the home remedies for food poisoning, you must understand that any medical problem should be consulted with a professional. This is especially true if the patients concerned are infants, young children, elderly, pregnant women, or people with existing conditions.
Mild cases of food poisoning seem like minor medical conditions that you shouldn’t worry about. While it’s true that food poisoning will eventually go away in a couple of days or so, you should never let your guard down.
For severe cases, doctors will prescribe antibiotics or have you hospitalized to keep you from getting dehydration. If the food poisoning is caused by listeria or if the patient is pregnant, further medical attention is necessary.
Some patients need to be confined in the hospital and administered fluid intravenously because of dehydration. You can avoid this with lots of fluid intake as much as possible, though this is admittedly difficult with all the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms going on.
As mentioned, most cases of food poisoning will last no longer than a couple of days though it may feel like two years. The best you can do is to treat food poisoning naturally at home. Don’t stuff your face with food or drink lots of fluids for a while. Give your tummy an hour or so to settle down.
You’ll likely vomit and do the “number 2” frequently while waiting for your stomach to calm down. Prevent dehydration by sipping a little water every now and then. You can also suck on ice cubes or chips or let them dissolve in your mouth.
Once your stomach is at ease, you can start introducing more fluids to make up for what you are losing. Drink water, coconut water, clear carbonated soda, apple juice, clear broth, caffeine-free tea, or sports drinks like Gatorade. This popular sports drink is often taken to fight dehydration because it contains electrolytes.
Eat the BRAT Diet
Another popular home remedy for food poisoning is the BRAT diet. It’s commonly used to treat diarrhea and stomach flu so it should help with food poisoning.
The BRAT diet consists of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods are low in fat, fiber and protein, which make them easy to digest. Plus, they taste bland. These qualities supposedly help lessen nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
There are some concerns with the BRAT diet, however. It’s not recommended for more than 48 hours as this may lead to malnutrition because of the lack of nutrients. The diet doesn’t have enough calcium, calories, fat, fiber, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not advise children to use this diet when they have diarrhea. However, they can still eat them as long as they have other kinds of foods to supplement what the diet lacks.
Some people may find the BRAT diet too limiting. You can eat other bland foods if you wish. Try sipping clear broths and munching on saltine crackers, oatmeal or watermelon.
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Other Natural Food Poisoning Remedies
In this 2011 article from Wellness Mama, the author talked about her own bout with food poisoning while she was still nursing her baby. As you can imagine, it was quite difficult to take care of a baby while dealing with diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dizziness, and other food poisoning symptoms.
Any mom will prefer to stay at home to recuperate rather than be hospitalized due to dehydration. It’s an even bigger no-no if you’re nursing. That is why the author tried all the natural ways to treat food poisoning she learned through the years before she’s forced to go to the hospital. A gentle reminder for everyone, though. It’s important to consult a doctor immediately if you are sick, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Fortunately for our Wellness Mama, her knowledge on home remedies helped tremendously as she recovered enough to not head to the hospital.
One particular food poisoning home remedy she tried was activated charcoal. She first combined half a teaspoon of activated charcoal with some apple sauce so it was easier to swallow. If you can take it as is or in capsule form, go ahead and do so.
NaturaLife Labs Organic Activated Charcoal Capsules are made from 100% organic coconut shells, which don’t have magnesium stearate, starch, soy, yeast, dioxide, and other fillers. Each capsule contains 1200 mg of pure activated charcoal. They’re highly absorbent so you’d feel the benefits in just a short while.
Activated charcoal is also available in powder form. The Viva Doria Virgin Activated Charcoal, for example, comes in 1.2 ounce glass jar of food grade powder. The food grade, gluten-free, and vegan Virgin Activated Charcoal is made from selected natural hardwood.
Activated charcoal is known for its many health benefits. Most people use it to whiten their teeth and to care for their skin. In fact, some use it as a face mask. It’s also useful against body odor, kidney issues, and digestive problems. You can also use activated charcoal to absorb poisons and toxins ingested accidentally. Preppers and survivalists also know that activated charcoal can be used to filter water. Know more about this popular natural home remedy in the video below.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Wellness Mama also took organic apple cider vinegar for her condition at the time. She sipped a mixture of ACV and water in equal amounts to go with the activated charcoal mixture. As we mentioned above, she felt better and didn’t need an IV so it’s definitely one natural remedy for food poisoning you should consider.
Apple cider vinegar can provide relief by killing the bacteria responsible for your suffering. It will also soothe your gastrointestinal lining and treat other symptoms.
Aside from being an effective natural remedy for food poisoning, apple cider vinegar has tons of other benefits. It helps keep chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer away every time you splash some on your veggies. ACV also reduces cholesterol level, which could possibly help you avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs not just because of the unique taste it lends to dishes, especially pasta. It also contains lots of nutrients and other health benefits. In fact, basil can also be used to treat food poisoning naturally. Its antimicrobial properties can help keep microorganisms from further wreaking havoc in your tummy.
You can’t eat pasta just yet so you need other ways to get your basil fix. One way is to extract its juice and drink it. Follow it up with a tablespoon of honey for better results.
Ironically, imported fresh basil was responsible for a cyclospora outbreak in 2019 that affected at least 132 people. This should be a reminder to always wash and dry produce well before consuming them.
It’s also a good idea to grow the herb yourself so you can be sure it’s clean. Herbs are pretty easy to grow. Plus, it’s a great idea to have your own indoor or outdoor herbal garden.
Get your hands on some basil seeds and pots to plant them in. The Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit from Spade To Fork includes non-GMO seeds of five different herbs particularly cilantro, parsley, sage, thyme, and basil. These seeds are kept in gorgeous looking custom tubes. The kit also comes with 5 certified USDA organic compostable pots, organic soil discs, custom wood burned plant markers, and a detailed instruction pamphlet.
Garlic is another kitchen essential that’s loaded with medicinal benefits. As a natural remedy for food poisoning, garlic is also one of the most effective. In fact, a Washington State University study found out that the compound diallyl sulphide found in garlic is 100 times better in killing Campylobacter than antibiotics. Garlic’s potent antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties are handy against food poisoning and its symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The simplest way to use garlic to treat food poisoning naturally is to eat it fresh. Consume one clove of garlic at a time. Make and drink garlic juice if you can’t handle the smell of fresh garlic. Soybean oil mixed with garlic oil also works when rubbed on your stomach after a meal.
Long been known for its medicinal benefits, ginger can also be used to treat food poisoning naturally. Eat raw ginger slices to help improve the body absorb the nutrients necessary to ease the symptoms of food poisoning, particularly nausea and vomiting. Ginger can also reduce inflammation and lessen pain so you’ll feel better quicker.
If you can’t stomach (no pun intended) eating raw ginger, take ginger tea instead. Grate and boil one teaspoon of ginger in on cup of water for a few minutes. Add honey or sugar if you prefer your tea to be sweet.
If you don’t have raw ginger on hand, your next best option is to drink something like the Organic India Tulsi Turmeric Ginger Tea. This non-GMO herbal tea infusion is a natural remedy for a number of medical issues including food poisoning. It also strengthens the immune system while providing lots of antioxidants, as well.
There’s no doubt that honey is more than just a sweetener. It’s a potent natural remedy. It can help treat or reduce the risks of a lot of health issues ranging from burns, coughs, indigestion, high blood pressure, heart diseases, strokes, and cancer.
When it comes to treating food poisoning naturally, honey is also a popular choice, especially when combined with other home remedies such as ginger tea. Honey can help provide relief to your stomach by hindering the formation of too much acid.
Look for pure organic honey to keep in your pantry. Nature Nate’s honey is 100% pure raw, unfiltered, and certified gluten-free. It’s strained and not filtered to retain the good stuff. The honey is also gently warmed and not cooked as exposure to high heat may adversely affect it.
Lemons contain acids that work to get rid of the bacteria behind your food poisoning dilemma. They also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral qualities, which are all useful in treating the annoying and oftentimes painful symptoms.
Squeeze out one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and take thrice a day. Take it with a little sugar or in a glass of warm water if you prefer.
What to Avoid If You’re Suffering From Food Poisoning
Food poisoning cases you tom lose water through frequent vomiting and diarrhea. The last thing you want is to get dehydrated. That’s why you have to avoid drinking alcohol beverages for now. I know that sounds heart-breaking but alcohol is a diuretic, which will cause you to urinate frequently thus losing more water in your body. So tell your drinking buddy you won’t be going out anytime soon while you recuperate.
Like alcohol, caffeinated drinks are diuretic. As sad as that may, you need to skip your morning coffee for the time being. Avoid black tea, sodas and caffeinated energy drinks for now.
Who doesn’t love spicy food?! Well, a lot of you probably. But for those of you who love everything spicy, I got some bad news for you. Skip your favorite spicy dishes for at least a couple of days to keep them from irritating your already sensitive stomach.
Protein is hard to digest and eating pork and other such foods will only give your stomach a harder time.
Generally, dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream and ice cream are not recommended for people suffering from stomach flu. However, there are some who believe that the live cultures in yogurt makes it a good dietary alteration for those with acute diarrhea. But as Livestrong pointed out, there is little evidence so far that says yogurt is effective against stomach virus.
There are surely other ways to treat food poisoning naturally that we failed to discuss here. If you know one effective home remedy, please don’t hesitate to share it with everyone else. And if you wish to know more about natural remedies and other ways to treat different medical emergencies, head over to Gentleman Pirate Club.