According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
approximately 76 million Americans get food poisoning every year. Even
though we have one of the safest food supplies in the world, food
poisoning is caused primarily by improper and unhygienic handling of
food – which can breed and spread harmful bacteria. Many thousands of
cases of supposed flu are actually food poisoning cases demonstrating
Only microscopic amounts of bacteria are required to cause sickness.
Virtually everyone is susceptible to bacterial food poisoning, the
symptoms of which can range from modest digestive discomfort to death.
Bacteria that cause food poisoning include salmonella, campylobacter, E.
coli and several other pathogens.
Disease-causing bacteria are most commonly found in meats, seafoods and
dairy products, though we have also seen outbreaks of contamination in
lettuce, melons, and other fruits and vegetables, as well as a limited
number of packaged and prepared foods. Experts believe that
disease-causing bacteria can never be fully eradicated from the food
chain, and there is widespread agreement that bacterial food
contamination is on the rise – representing a major threat to public
Refrigerating food and cooking it properly are well understood methods
of reducing the likelihood of bacterial food poisoning. Washing hands
and utensils with soap and warm water will also reduce risk. In
addition, segregating the preparation of animal products and non-animal
products can reduce the chance of cross-contamination – the spread of
bacteria from one food to another. To reduce the potential for food
contamination, read up on simple safety tips, which can be found all
over the Internet.
But what if, despite your best efforts, you still wind up with food
poisoning? There are some natural remedies that can help.
If you feel a bit queasy, a strong cup or two of fresh ginger root tea
may be sufficient to ward off further discomfort. Ginger is loaded with
potent anti-inflammatory compounds that help to quell nausea and gastric
distress. You can drink ginger tea as often as you like. Often, this
does the trick. I recommend the Organic Ginger Tea from Traditional
Medicinals, which can be found at any natural food store and at many
If you feel that you are getting sicker, then a couple capsules of
Andrographis – a Chinese herb – may stop things from progressing
further. About 300 to 500 milligrams of Andrographis twice daily may
alleviate symptoms. Nature’s Way, an herbal medicine provider, makes a
good standardized Andrographis extract supplement.
To halt diarrhea due to food poisoning, a few drops of the Amazon herb
‘dragon’s blood’ can help to slow everything down and restore proper
intestinal function. Available as a fluid, dragon’s blood is widely used
in South America for diarrhea. It is also a traditional remedy given to
women after childbirth to stop any internal bleeding. You can obtain
fluid dragon’s blood from Raintree Nutrition.
If you wind up very sick – with chills, fever and diarrhea – then you
need to step up the action. Without a doubt, call your doctor. Food
poisoning can be debilitating, and in some cases fatal. When it gets
very bad, that’s the time for antibiotics like the broad-spectrum CIPRO.
Once you are recovered from food poisoning, take a good probiotic. Your
intestines require a healthy colony of abundant friendly bacteria to
digest food, eliminate waste, rid the bowels of toxins and reduce the
potential for intestinal inflammation. The friendly bacteria in
probiotics help to re-establish normal, healthy intestinal and digestive
function, assisting you in returning to normal. Look for either yogurts
or supplements that say “live active cultures” right on the label, to
ensure that the friendly bugs are still alive and viable. Pearls IC from
Enzymatic Therapy is my favorite of all probiotic supplements.
No matter who you are, you can get food poisoning simply because there
are so many pathogens that can get into food. Follow safe food handling
guidelines and you’ll reduce risk. But if you do get sick, it’s good to