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Eat These Foods to Prevent Exercise Induced Nausea

Runner’s stomach can slow you down so eat these foods to keep up your pace!

Runners’ gut or runners’ stomach is a well-known phenomenon in the world of running. From mid-run stomach aches and bathroom breaks to other gastrointestinal complaints, athletes can be plagued with exercise-induced stomach problems. Nausea is also a common symptom among runners.

People who engage in intense workouts like high intensity training, marathons, long distance cycling and triathlons are at greater risk for nausea that is brought about by exercise. People with a history of acid reflux (also sometimes called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD) are at an even greater risk due to excessive pressure on your core.

Exercise-induced nausea can occur in athletes after high intensity or strenuous training, according to a study published in 2013 in Gastroenterology Review.  According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health as well as attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, “Exercise-induced nausea results from reduced blood flow to the stomach during intense exercise as blood flow is directed to more critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.”

It can also be caused by other things like irritable bowel syndrome and other factors such as climate conditions, duration and intensity, type of exercise and hydration status. This nausea can also occur if you start and stop running too quickly, which makes it important to slowly ease your pace down when coming to the end of a run.

In some cases, this nausea may result in vomiting if relief is not sought. Slow and deep abdominal breathing can help as well as the application of a cool compress on the back of your neck or forehead.

Below are some foods that can help prevent or ease symptoms of exercise-induced nausea.

Starchy Foods

Foods such as pretzels and crackers can help absorb stomach acid, which can ease stomach upset and nausea. Grab a handful of pretzels or white saltine crackers about 30 minutes before your run.

Ginger

Ginger is a well-known ailment for stomach upset. It may work to relieve nausea in the middle of a workout as well. Grab some ginger snap cookies before a workout. This gives you both a carbohydrate benefit as well as the anti-nausea benefit of the ginger. You can also carry ginger candies on your run to pop one in your mouth if you feel a bout of queasiness coming on.

Whole Grains

Some people experience nausea while running because their glycogen stores are low. Complex carbs like whole grains may help by slowly release energy into your body and bloodstream, which can help to keep your appetite satisfied.

Nut Butters

Nut butters like peanut, almond or cashew may help reduce nausea if eaten in small portions due to their sodium content. Be careful not to eat too much as it can upset your stomach before exercise.

Coconut Water

Coconut water offers hydration and electrolytes. Dehydration and electrolyte loss (often due to sweat) can both lead to feelings of nausea. Coconut water offers sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.