My son recently had a bad stomach bug, he came home from school, pale, headache, flu-like and just wanted to go to bed. Not long after that he was on best terms with the toilet and he remained there for the next four days. So what to eat on an upset stomach?
At one point he cried: “I am so fed up!”
We have all been there
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Starts off not being very hungry so not eating is actually OK but after 2-3 days of sickness and or diarrhoea, we start to feel weak, hungry and dehydrated.
Inevitably we eat something we shouldn’t, like some macaroni cheese and then it starts all over again.
So how can we support our bodies while ill with an upset stomach?
1) Give your stomach a rest!
Give the stomach a rest for the 24-48 hours, try not to eat solid food in this time.
2) Keep drinking fluids
You should always sip water regularly to keep hydrated.
Bone broths may be useful as they contain minerals that will be lost. Bone broths contain sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Make a broth with boiled potatoes, keep the skin on and drink the water.
Chicken soup – boil an organic chicken whole or just the bones with a couple of carrots, 1 onion, a celery stick and a potato in a pot of water. Simmer for 3 plus hours. Strain the mixture, season to taste and drink when you feel like it, little and often would be best. Always have some in the freezer for times when you are under the weather, can also be useful when you have a cold.
Carrot juice contains vital minerals lost due to dehydration and may also help bulk out the stool.
Electrolyte rehydration sachets may also be useful; you can purchase these at the chemist.
When ready, try more solid food like half a banana, plain piece of toast or some plain white rice. Food that is gentle and easy on the stomach is best.
4) Not up for solids? Try protein powders
Protein powders may be helpful in a non dairy milk smoothie with half a banana.
5) Psyllium husk
Psyllium husk is a soluble fibre that may help with diarrhoea. When it comes into contact with water it swells up adding bulk to the stool.
Start off slow with 1 teaspoon, a glass of water and drink another glass of water at the time of taking to ensure this action. Some brands come with the extra value of probiotics which can be useful at this time.
Glutamine is an amino acid which is found in bone broths, it is the main source of fuel for gut cells and therefore may help with repair.
It may help decrease the incidence of infection and it also stimulates defense of pathogens reducing the risk of contracting another infection.
Collagen may be very healing for the gut lining. This can be obtained from bone broths or you can use a good quality supplement.
8) Avoid dairy
Dairy may aggravate the stomach by producing more stomach acid in an inflamed environment.
A stomach bug may be caused by a virus or food poisoning, both mean you have an increase of bad bacteria in your gut. Taking a probiotic may help balance the intestinal gut flora. Certain strains may also be useful.
Studies have shown Lactobacillus GG has been found to help reduce diarrhoea in children. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have all been shown to be useful for restoring balance in the gut. A yeast called Saccharomyces Boulardii has also shown to be effective at reducing diarrhoea.
10) Keep clean
Wash your hands thoroughly when you have an upset stomach to avoid the risk of spreading germs.
11) Rest up
Make sure you rest and give your body time to recover.
12) Identify the problem
Identify and triggers for your upset stomach if it is not viral or bacterial. Food intolerance or allergies may be contributing to your symptoms.
Connect with Expert Natasha Alonzi.