Upset stomach is a broad term that can encompass a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, from abdominal pain and nausea to vomiting and diarrhea. These upset stomach feelings can also have several potential causes, such as a short-lived stomach virus, food poisoning, indigestion, or gas. In all these cases, however, there are certain types of foods that can help calm the stomach, many of them are soft, smooth foods, low in fiber, not too spicy and neither fried nor raw.
Here’s a look at some of the best foods to eat when you have an upset stomach.
Bananas are the first food represented in the so-called BRAT diet, the restrictive diet historically recommended for those suffering from stomach-related ailments. “Bananas are very good for solidifying and calming the stomach,” says Christine Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center, based in Willoughby, Ohio.
Bananas are also a great source of potassium, an electrolyte that you may need to replenish if your upset stomach has caused diarrhea or vomiting.
The ‘R’ in the BRAT diet technically just means rice, “but we’re actually referring to white rice,” according to Dr. Lee. The reason white rice is recommended is that “when you have an upset stomach, you want to give it foods that are easy to digest,” he explains. “While foods rich in nutrients and fiber are healthy for you, they are not the best when you have an upset stomach,” he adds.
Compared to brown rice, white rice has less fiber, which can also help make stools firmer if you have diarrhea.
Applesauce, the ‘A’ of the aforementioned BRAT diet, is another winner for an upset stomach. It is easy to digest because its consistency is similar to baby food,” says Dr. Lee.
Pureed foods, such as applesauce, are generally easier on the stomach because they are more liquid and therefore involve less digestive effort. These types of foods are also easier to swallow due to their smooth consistency.
Toast or White Bread
Also, although the ‘T’ in the BRAT diet technically just means toast, it should actually be white toast. This option can be good for an upset stomach “because it absorbs acid that may be bothering the stomach,” Dr. Lee notes.
“You’re (eating) something easy to digest, something that can absorb the stomach acid and then calm it down because it’s so mild,” explains Dr. Lee.
While BRAT diet foods “are great to eat when you have an upset stomach, you don’t need to eat just these foods,” adds Megan Hilbert, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who works with Top Nutrition Coaching. and founder of Dishing Nutrition. If possible, it’s important to eat a variety of nutritious foods, even when your stomach doesn’t feel good, Hilbert notes.
One way to get those necessary nutrients is through broth-based soups, such as chicken noodle soup or vegetable soup, which Hilbert says can be particularly good “for nausea or vomiting to help with fluid and electrolyte status.” that can run out.”
Crackers or crackers are another upset stomach food that both Hilbert and Dr. Lee recommend. In fact, one study found that nearly 90% of obstetricians and gynecologists recommended eating soda crackers to pregnant women experiencing moderate nausea due to morning sickness.
Like white bread and toast, crackers are a relatively bland food and can also help absorb stomach acid. When the stomach is upset, such as from ingestion, stomach acid can come into contact with the protective lining of the digestive system, breaking it down and causing discomfort. Counteracting that acid with certain foods can help provide relief.
“The protein from eggs, chicken, turkey, and other lean meats provides the building blocks of our immune system and gastrointestinal lining, which can help reduce our unpleasant digestive symptoms,” says Hilbert. She suggests “lightly seasoned turkey, fish, or chicken,” as well as “boiled or poached eggs” as go-to foods when you have an upset stomach.
In fact, these proteins are recommended as part of the bland diet, which can be used to treat various gastrointestinal symptoms, from ulcers to vomiting. On the soft diet, it is suggested that the meats you choose are lean and tender and steamed, baked or grilled, with no added fat.