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What to Eat on an Upset Stomach

What to Eat on an Upset Stomach

Having an upset stomach can be both frustrating and enfeebling, and can happen to anyone at any point in life. However, it's not a severe disorder and can be taken care of by paying heed to the food items you include in your diet.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018
An upset stomach is our body's way of responding to unwanted invaders or irritants in the stomach. It causes a feeling of nausea and may eventually lead to vomiting or diarrhea, which is nothing but a way of ejecting the unwanted irritants from the stomach. Whether it's a chronic or simple stomach upset, the severity of the illness depends on the causes behind it.

Virus infection, food poisoning, motion sickness, migraine, certain medications, etc., are some common causes of an upset stomach. If a person experiences symptoms, like, dehydration and constant stomach ache, he/she is suffering from chronic upset stomach and immediately needs to consult a doctor. But a simple stomach upset can be cured by keeping a watch on what you eat and avoiding food items that can worsen the condition.

Antidiarrheal drugs are available, however, it's best to let the body run its course of infection. Medication may interfere with the natural process of eliminating toxins. Thus, it is better to allow the body do its job. What we have to do is support the body during this time, and eat the right kind of foods that will help the stomach lining to heal quickly.

Liquids and More Liquids
The very fact that the body is suffering from diarrhea, means that there is something in the body, which it wants to flush out. The best thing to do here would be to drink lots of fluids and help the body flush out the unwanted stuff. Moreover, since dehydration is the greatest risk associated with diarrhea, it is important to keep replenishing the body with a lot of liquids to replace the lost fluids.
Water, chicken broth, rice water, electrolyte solutions, coconut water, black tea, Jell-O, etc. need to be had frequently during the day to avoid dehydration. However, fruit juices, alcohol, coffee, etc. must be avoided, because they can worsen the condition. For infants, Pedialyte is to be given. These liquids must be had a little at a time.

Foods Allowed on an Upset Stomach
Here are some other food items that can be consumed on an upset stomach. Although they will not treat the condition, they will not overload the stomach as well, and will help the body heal.
Bananas are considered to be one of the best foods for an upset stomach. They are light, filling, easy to digest and provide the body with the essential nutrients which have been lost during this time. They replenish the body with the lost levels of necessary potassium.
Rice not only soothes the irritated stomach, but also adds bulk to the bowel contents, thereby reducing bouts of diarrhea. Boil rice in excess amounts of water, and once the rice has been cooked, separate the excess water from the rice, and keep sipping this water in small amounts throughout the day.
Applesauce is a part of the famous BRAT diet, and truly is a great remedy for an upset stomach. Raw apples are not so good on an upset stomach, however, cooking them softens their cellulose content, making it more digestible. The pectin in the apples soothe the irritated gut lining.
Papaya is known to heal stomach upsets, indigestion problems, gas, and bloating. The enzymes; papain and chymopapain present in the papaya fruit, help breakdown ingested proteins, thereby assisting in digestion. You can either eat ripe papaya as it is or prepare a papaya smoothie, along with yogurt, freshly grated ginger, and some honey. A papaya smoothie also furnishes the body with required nutrients during this time of illness.
Carrot Smoothie
Raw carrots may be difficult to digest, so cooking the carrots in some water is a better idea. Blend the cooked carrots along with its cooking water and salt. One can also have carrot soup to alleviate diarrhea.
Ginger, as we all know, is excellent for our digestive system and can squelch nausea completely. Being rich in antioxidants, it benefits our entire body. Whether eaten raw or used in tea or meals, it is one of the cures that keeps you from falling sick. Drinking ginger ale or ginger tea helps heal an upset stomach.
Toast is another food that can be eaten during a stomach upset. However, butter, jam or peanut butter are not allowed, as an accompaniment for toast. Cutting up the toast into tiny bits and dropping them into the broth, can be a nice way of having toast. Toast can also be had along with applesauce. Eating the toast along with tea is also a good option.
Eating crackers is another way of calming an upset stomach as they are light and easy to digest. Being low in sodium and unhealthy fats, crackers work best for pregnant women who experience morning sickness.
Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea (not very sugary) is one of the best soothing foods for an upset stomach. It calms down the nausea in no time and brings immediate relief. It's also ideal for women who suffer from morning sickness as it has no side effects.
Pomegranate juice
As weird as this sounds, it's true. Pomegranate juice contains astringent properties that helps reduce diarrhea. However, it's important to give fresh pomegranate juice, and not the packaged one. Diluted pomegranate juice should be consumed in small quantities during the day to get relief from an upset stomach.
Drinking a mixture of ½ tsp. of baking soda dissolved well in ½ glass of water is considered to be one of the best remedies for upset stomach. It helps in relieving the discomfort and rumble of indigestion or heartburn. Relaxing, taking a warm bath, drinking warm water or herbal teas also help in curing an upset stomach.
Foods to Avoid on an Upset Stomach
Certain foods aggravate stomach upset and must be avoided, till the stomach heals completely. Those with chronic stomach upset, have to be careful not to consume too much of these food items, to avoid irritating the stomach.
Dairy Products
Consuming dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, etc. can worsen the situation as these items are difficult for the body to digest. This is because during diarrhea, the body has reduced amounts of the enzyme lactase, which is required to digest lactose found in milk.
Fatty Foods
Deep-fried food items, and those containing high amounts of fat should be avoided, because they only aggravate diarrhea, by causing acid reflux and heartburn.
High-fiber Foods
Foods high in fiber can be difficult for the body to digest during and after a bout of an upset stomach. Whole-grain breads, beans, and other lentils must be kept on hold, till the stomach heals completely. Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. and citrus fruits must also be avoided.
Spicy and Processed Foods
Spicy foods can trigger heartburn and can irritate the esophagus, thus, must be avoided. Refined and processed foods like pastas, spaghetti, donuts, cakes, cookies, pastries, or even processed meats, etc. should be avoided.
Coffee and chocolates should be completely avoided as it can be harsh on the stomach, and cause heartburn. It is also advised to stay away from soft drinks.
Though nuts or dried fruits are good for health, they are hard to digest and can disturb the digestive tract. Hence, one should stay away from them if having an upset stomach.
Though the lycopene in tomatoes is of tremendous nutritional value and should be consumed on a regular basis, the acidity in the fruit can exacerbate an already bad stomach. Therefore, one should limit tomato consumption until he/she has fully recovered.
The best remedy for an upset stomach is 'patience'. One needs to wait patiently for the body to take its own time and flush out the unwanted substances. Our only role is to help the body by not overloading it with certain kinds of foods. So relax and allow your body to take care of the unwanted guests!