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What is the Best Food for an Upset Stomach?

By Lori Smith
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Food for an upset stomach is generally best when it is bland. Physicians frequently recommend incorporating the BRAT diet, a mnemonic acronym that stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. These staple elements can be consumed with other well-tolerated foods, such as clear broth, gelatin, oatmeal, crackers and yogurt. Homemade chicken noodle soup is widely considered to be the ideal food for an upset stomach. It is usually easy for the body to digest and contains lean meat, nutrients, fluid, and low fiber content. Many people also find that hot chamomile, peppermint, or ginger teas quell feelings of nausea.

When vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea is present, it is best to avoid fried foods and those with high fat contents, which have a tendency to worsen the condition. Lean meats are generally a good choice, but sufferers should try not to eat too much of anything at one sitting. Consuming several small meals a day will usually make foods easier to digest and reduce irritation on the stomach and bowels.

Typical gas-producing foods — like broccoli, cabbage, onions, and beans — should generally also be avoided. When preparing meals, it is also usually best to use little or no spices. Some people have adverse reactions to pepper or other seasonings, so keeping meals simple often allows healing to occur more rapidly. Food for those with an an upset stomach should be easy to digest and contain the least amount of gastrointestinal irritants possible.

As a general rule, caffeine products should be avoided as well. It usually has a tendency to increase gassiness, and can have a laxative effect on the body, which can worsen symptoms of diarrhea, so it's not a good food for an upset stomach. Furthermore, caffeine often contributes to dehydration because of its diuretic qualities.

It is important to keep the body hydrated, especially when an upset stomach accompanies vomiting or diarrhea. Sports drinks that restore electrolytes are usually best. Look for selections that contain sodium and potassium. Hot tea is another great option that often soothes an aching belly.

Many people consume ginger and incorporate the spice into food for an upset stomach, to ease discomfort. Whether it is mixed with hot tea, used as a flavoring, or taken in tablet form, it often helps ease queasiness. Ginger ale can also be helpful. Drink the beverage in small quantities, however.

The sugar in ginger ale can negate the beneficial qualities of the spice if consumed in high volumes. The carbonation may produce gas and induce belching. Drinking smaller amounts of the beverage is preferred, but if it is bothersome, then it is probably best to avoid the drink altogether.

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Discussion Comments

By seag47 — On Sep 16, 2012

@kylee07drg – Crackers and soda are what my parents fed me when I was sick as a kid, too. I think it's a common remedy for nausea.

I had a different problem as an adult. I loved eating at restaurants, but every time that I did, I would get awful stomach bloating and gas. The foods were just too rich or too fatty for my digestive system to handle.

Then, I discovered sushi. I only eat the cooked kind, but it is the most perfect food. It doesn't look like much on the plate, but it is surprisingly filling.

It seems that when I eat sushi that contains crab, my stomach gets satisfied without reaching the point at which gas would develop. The portion size is perfect, and there must be something magical about the food, because I don't see how something so small could be so filling and healthy at the same time.

By kylee07drg — On Sep 16, 2012

I did have a lot of problems with stomach gas and bloating as a kid, and I seemed to catch the stomach virus every time it was going around. I would vomit and have diarrhea, and I couldn't keep anything down for the first day of my sickness.

By the second day, I could eat saltines and clear soda without caffeine. Somehow, this soda soothed my stomach, as my parents had always said it would. The crackers were the blandest type of food in the house, yet they tasted so good at the time.

By healthy4life — On Sep 15, 2012

It seems to me that cabbage is a big cause of stomach gas for me. I ate some coleslaw last week, and I got so bloated that I didn't have room to eat the fish that came with it!

The gas just lingered for a long time. I hated this, because I love the taste of coleslaw, and I didn't want to have to give it up.

So, I started using something that is supposed to prevent you from getting gas. It comes in a little squeeze bottle, and you just put a few drops on whatever you are about to eat before taking a bite. I tried it with coleslaw, and I didn't have any gas!

It's nice to know that I don't have to stick to a bland diet to prevent gas anymore. As long as I have these anti-gas drops, I can eat whatever I want.

By wavy58 — On Sep 15, 2012

I think that the food you would eat while you had nausea and diarrhea is about the same as the kind of food for heartburn. Spicy things tend to cause problems with heartburn, so bland things are best.

My friend has major heartburn issues, and he often eats applesauce on toast. This sounds weird, because it seems that the applesauce would make the toast soggy. However, he spreads it thin, and by the time he can stomach any sort of food, he is usually so hungry that he consumes it before it has time to get soggy.

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