What to Eat With an Upset Stomach

by Wellness Editor – MH

There are few things that can derail your day quicker that an upset stomach. The nausea, bloating, pain and other symptoms can prevent you from getting any work done at the office, and can just as easily ruin your downtime as well. While waiting for a troublesome stomach to settle down, the last things that people tend to think about are food and drinks.

Surprising as it may seem, certain foods and beverages may help calm your upset stomach. When eaten after the most severe symptoms have passed (vomiting, diarrhea), a combination of bland foods and liquids can noticeably speed up your recovery. The next time you eat something that disagrees with your stomach organ, try munching or sipping on some of the proceeding items.


Liquids – When an upset stomach first rears its ugly head, the safest route to follow is to consume only certain liquids. In fact, patients are often discouraged from eating solid foods for about 24 hours after initially experiencing symptoms. The list of appropriate drinks includes water (purified if possible), sports drinks high in electrolytes, flat ginger ale, flat cola and clear broth.


Bananas – Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know about bananas – marathon runners are often encouraged to eat this popular fruit to replenish their energy reserves. Both runners and non-runners alike can enjoy bananas without worry, since they rarely cause any problems for the stomach. In fact, bananas are so easily digestible that they make up the “B” in the BRAT diet, which doctors recommend to patients with upset stomachs. Not surprisingly, the remaining letters refer to other items on this list – rice, applesauce and toast. Bananas are also a great source of pectin, a complex carbohydrate that promotes firmer stools.


White Rice – When it comes to nutritional value, white rice pales in comparison to the less-popular brown rice. White rice, however, does have one distinct advantage over its brown cousin – due to its bland composition, it’s a lot easier on the stomach than brown rice. While working its way through the digestive tract, white rice absorbs a good deal of fluid. This leads to bigger-sized stools that remove more waste from the body.


Applesauce – Like bananas, applesauce carries a solid amount of pectin. Due to its relatively high pectin content, applesauce can be an effective remedy for diarrhea.


Toast – Toast shares a common characteristic with the other three pillars of the BRAT diet- it’s noticeably bland. Unlike slow-moving, high-fat foods that irritate the stomach, toast passes through the digestive system in a relatively quick fashion.


Soup – Bowls of soup aren’t just useful for fighting off colds and viruses; they can also tame upset stomachs. Being mostly liquid, eating soup is a fast and effective way to rehydrate the body, which can lose a good deal of fluid from various digestive problems.  


Oatmeal – Arguably the best nutrient for digestive health is fiber, which helps the intestinal track cleanse itself of waste products. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, and can help calm the stomach while cleaning out the intestines.


Saltine Crackers – In addition to being bland, saltine crackers are choked full of starch, a carbohydrate that absorbs stomach acid once inside the body. By lowering the amount of acid in your stomach, saltine crackers can make upset stomach symptoms far less distressing (toast, another item full of starch, has a similar effect on the stomach).


Yogurt – Yogurt can be good to eat when suffering from stomach problems, but make sure that the yogurt you choose is of the plain-flavored persuasion. Additionally, try and pick out a yogurt that has “active cultures.” Active cultures are a healthy form of bacteria, and help the body to digest and process food more smoothly.


Foods to Avoid

On the flip side of the coin, there are a number of foods and drinks that can exacerbate a sick stomach. When recuperating from stomach problems, make sure to pass on the following items until you return to full health.

  • Spicy or fatty foods
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Diary products (excluding yogurt)
  • Fruits
  • Raw vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts

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