There are many reasons we might feel nauseated, and drinking liquids is often the fastest way to fight back. Many people have their pet remedies, such as cola, ginger ale and coconut water. So what works best? One expert, Lawrence Szarka, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., explains the evolutionary drive behind nausea and why fizzy drinks can keep a stomach stable.
A Helpful Response
Many parts of the body conspire to cause nausea, says Dr. Szarka. The inner ear, the stomach, the nose or the blood can send signals to the brain that the body has ingested something, or is around something, that is bad for it. “We think that a nauseated feeling is an evolutionary adaptation to eject food that was rotten or toxic,” says Dr. Szarka. Nausea can stem from food poisoning, but also from an overindulgence in fatty foods, alcohol or caffeine. “Even a gross smell can make you feel worse,” Dr. Szarka adds. Motion sickness, a common cause of nausea, is poorly understood, “but clearly it has to do with a disagreement between signals about movement from our eyes and from our inner ears,” he says.