We never saw this coming! Empire star Taraji P. Henson always seems to be living her best life — but she just exclusively opened up to Closer Weekly about her recent health scare! Fortunately, things were minor and she is doing okay.

“I just had a health scare, and it was due to food — the types of food I was eating, and I think the one thing that did stick out to me was the alarming amount of time that women spend doubting food,” Taraji said while promoting Special K’s #OwnIt campaign. The mother-of-one later added that she was actually suffering from gastritis, and that “a lot of people are walking around with it and don’t know it.”

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According to WebMD, gastritis — defined as “inflammation of the lining of the stomach” — is diagnosed via blood test, fecal sampling, or upper endoscopy. Symptoms include bloating, burning sensations, and even vomiting blood. Upon the diagnosis, Taraji had to make some changes when it comes to her eating habits — which 90% of women spend time stressing over.

taraji p. henson sara jaye weiss
Sara Jaye Weiss

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“Food should be an experience. I love food. I love to eat. I don’t want to feel guilty about food. I don’t want to waste time doing that because of my health issue,” she shared. “Stress is one of the issues that I had with my stomach, so if I’m doubting food or concerned about food, that’s going to lead to stress, isn’t it? So then we want to make healthy choices, we want to own the choices that we’re making, and Special K allows you to do that. The options that they give you — they’re high in protein, low in calories, low in sugar — things that I have to watch, that I can’t eat right now.”

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