Nutrition and Health

Is Tomato Soup Good For An Upset Stomach?

When your stomach is angry and gurgling, reaching for a can of tomato soup may seem like the perfect comforting solution. There’s something about a warm bowl of tomato soup that just feels soothing. But is tomato soup actually good for an upset stomach? Or could it make indigestion worse? 

How Tomato Soup May Soothe the Stomach

There are a few reasons why tomato soup seems to calm an upset stomach for many people:

1. The Placebo Effect

There’s just something nostalgic and comforting about tomato soup for a lot of us. This strong mental association of tomato soup with feeling better could trigger the placebo effect, where your brain’s expectation helps minimize stomach discomfort.

2. Low Fiber Content

Compared to other soups loaded with veggies and beans, tomato soup is lower in fiber. This makes it less likely to aggravate diarrhea or cramping that often comes with stomach bugs or food poisoning. The broth goes down smoothly.

3. Hydration

When your stomach is upset, staying hydrated is key. Tomato soup provides hydration from the broth, which may be easier to keep down than plain water when nauseous.

4. Warm Temperature

Warm liquids can be soothing for the stomach. Tomato soup is typically served hot, which may help relax stomach muscles.

5. Saltiness

Tomato soup recipes often call for added salt, which helps replenish electrolytes lost through vomiting or diarrhea. The salty flavor may also trigger receptors in the mouth to promote digestion.

Reasons Tomato Soup Could Irritate a Sensitive Stomach

While tomato soup has some perks for an upset stomach, it also contains ingredients that may irritate a sensitive digestive system:

1. Acidity

Tomatoes are highly acidic, thanks to citric acid and malic acid. This acidity could aggravate ulcers or inflammation. Those with acid reflux may want to avoid tomato soup.

2. FODMAPs

Some people may experience digestive distress from FODMAPs found in tomatoes, like fructose and mannitol. People with IBS often limit high-FODMAP foods.

3. Fat Content

Most canned tomato soups have added cream for a richer texture. Dairy fat like cream and butter can be difficult to digest for those with stomach issues.

4. Tomato Skins & Seeds

Fresh tomatoes contain insoluble fiber in their skins and seeds. If tomato chunks aren’t strained out, this fiber may irritate sensitive bowels.

5. Onion and Garlic

These aromatic vegetables are common ingredients in tomato soup recipes. However, onion and garlic contain FODMAPs that may trigger gas and bloating.

Tips for Making Tomato Soup Easier on the Stomach

If you want to enjoy tomato soup for an upset stomach, there are some tweaks you can make to prevent digestive distress:

  • Opt for low-FODMAP tomatoes like cherry tomatoes which have less fructose.
  • Strain out all vegetable chunks and skins through a sieve after blending.
  • Use coconut milk or lactose-free milk instead of regular dairy.
  • Avoid adding onion, garlic, or other high-FODMAP ingredients.
  • Add a dash of baking soda to help neutralize acidity.
  • Serve soup warm instead of piping hot to reduce irritation.
  • Water it down with extra broth if the tomato flavor is too intense.
  • Stir in a spoonful of yogurt for added probiotics.

Should You Have Tomato Soup for an Upset Stomach?

At the end of the day, whether tomato soup helps or hurts your upset stomach depends on the individual. Those with gastric ulcers, GERD, IBS, or food intolerances may find tomato soup triggers more irritation. However, someone with a mild stomach bug may find warm tomato soup settles the stomach. Pay attention to your own body’s response.

While tomato soup may offer nostalgic appeal when you’re under the weather, stick to bland broth-based soups if your gut reacts poorly. With a few tweaks, tomato soup can be soothing – but when in doubt, go easy on ingredients that exacerbate your symptoms.

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