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How to Treat Food Poisoning at Home

Top Food Poisoning Remedy

We have all experienced eating something that didn't agree with us, but was it merely discomfort, or did you get food poisoning? This article will outline what food poisoning is, how you can get it, the signs and symptoms to watch for, and different ways to treat it. Luckily, most cases are quite mild, and there are natural ways to treat it at home.

What is Food Poisoning and How Do You Get It?

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, happens when you eat or drink something that has been contaminated by mold, bacteria, fungus, or parasites. Some of the most common bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning include:

  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • E. coli
  • Listeria
  • Norovirus
  • Salmonella
  • Botulism
  • Shigella
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Often the illness comes from your body's immune system response as it fights off the toxins these organisms produce to prevent serious illness. You may get sick if you eat at a restaurant that has mishandled their food or if you have contaminated your food at home.

Cooking doesn't always kill off all the pathogens. Food can be contaminated at any point in the cooking or production process. That's why it is so important to follow proper food handling guidelines at home, including washing your hands regularly as you cook and properly refrigerating and storing your food.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

How do you know if what you're experiencing is food poisoning? Often with foodborne illness, the symptoms appear within a few hours of eating the contaminated food and vary in intensity depending on the source and how contaminated the food is. Signs to watch for include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and watery or bloody bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fever

There is the possibility that you may not experience a reaction to contaminated food for a few days, and sometimes it may even take a few weeks. In general, though, you will experience a reaction within a day as your body reacts to what you ate.

How to Treat Food Poisoning

Luckily, most cases of food poisoning are relatively mild and can be effectively treated at home with the following suggestions.

During the intense response to food poisoning, there often isn't much you can do to stop the purging of diarrhea and vomit. And you don't necessarily want to since this response can help clear the offending bacteria or viruses from your system. Once things have settled a bit, you can start to incorporate these tips into your healing routine.

Mint and Ginger Tea/Supplements

Ginger and mint have solid reputations as herbal remedies for nausea and digestive issues, such as abdominal pain and cramping. Drinking these teas can help to settle your stomach and soothe your digestive tract. They will also help keep you hydrated after your food poisoning since you will have lost fluids while you were sick. Take small sips every ten minutes to prevent triggering your digestive tract to clear again.

Ginger Gravol can be helpful if you need extra-strength support, and some companies make peppermint oil capsules that can help with intestinal spasms. They are great to keep in your medicine cabinet for possible food poisonings or in case you get the flu.

Activated Charcoal

Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal binds to the toxins in your digestive tract and helps clear them out. Take your first dose after your acute phase of food poisoning, and then you may want to take a couple of capsules a day for two to three days to clear everything out.

I don't suggest taking activated charcoal long-term since it may bind to vitamins and minerals and cause deficiencies.

Be Gentle on Your Belly

After an episode of food poisoning, your digestive system is inflamed. So give it a few days to heal. During this time, focus on eating easily absorbed and digested foods to give your belly a break. Some foods to include are:

  • Vegetable, chicken, or beef broths are packed with nutrition and easy on your system.
  • Drink electrolyte-rich drinks such as coconut water, fresh water with lemon, and a pinch of sea salt, maple water, and low-sugar sports drinks. These drinks rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes from your illness.
  • Rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and other grains are easy to digest, and you can often cook them in broths to up the nutrient profile.
  • Applesauce, bananas, and soft fruits contain vitamins and minerals you need to heal the digestive system while being gentle on your belly.
  • Try making homemade jello with grass-fed gelatin. The gelatin helps rebuild and repair the cells of the digestive system. You can also make smoothies that contain collagen to get the same benefits.
  • Nut butter is a great way to get some protein without being hard on the digestive system. Fats can be tougher to digest after a bout of food poisoning, so don't go overboard.
  • Plain potatoes or sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and won't trigger inflammation in the belly.
  • Eat probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar, and kombucha. After experiencing food poisoning, the good bacteria in your belly may be imbalanced, which can impact your digestion for weeks afterward. Replenishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut will help you get back to normal sooner.

Take a High-Quality Probiotic

If you experienced a severe bout of food poisoning, you might want to take a high-quality probiotic for 30 days after your infection. As I mentioned, the balance can be thrown off, impacting your digestion and your immune function long-term.

I like to incorporate a strain called saccharomyces boulardii into my food poisoning remedy kit since it effectively stops acute diarrhea. I would recommend taking a capsule as soon as you are safely able to keep food down and continuing for about 30 days post-infection.

When to See Your Doctor

Some cases of food poisoning may require hospitalization. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, don't hesitate to go to the emergency room:

  • Inability to keep down foods or liquids for a long time
  • Bloody vomit or bowel movements
  • If your diarrhea lasts for more than three days
  • If you have an oral temperature that is over 100.4 F
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Any neurological issues

Food poisoning is never a pleasant experience, but with these tips you can help your body bounce back after your illness.

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