What to Eat if You Have the Stomach Flu?
Try to eat if you can. Here are some suggestions that will help to keep you hydrated and provide some simple nourishment.
- If you can’t keep liquids down, you may be able to suck on ice chips instead. Avoid giving ice chips to young children to prevent choking.
- Herbal tea can help ease nausea – peppermint, ginger, licorice, rooibos, chamomile, and fennel are good choices. You can add lemon for the vitamin C (the best anti-viral nutrient). Avoid sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages, as caffeine is a diuretic.
- Apple cider vinegar mixed with water can help calm the stomach.
- A paste of cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and honey is effective in relieving acute diarrhea of gastroenteritis. (4)
- Turmeric has been found to reduce intestinal inflammation. (5)
- A BRAT diet: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. These foods are mild and easy on the stomach. They are also rich in fiber to help firm stools. Bananas contain lots of potassium and apples contain vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
- Rice water is an old home remedy to ease upset stomach. Its gentle starch relieves diarrhea and the electrolyte content is hydrating. Research has found that it really works, even in babies (6):
- Boil 2 tablespoons of brown or white rice in 1 cup of water until tender.
- Strain out the rice through a sieve and drink the water at whatever temperature you prefer. Sip slowly.
Foods to Avoid if You Have the Stomach Flu
- Dairy is difficult to digest and is mucous-forming.
- Fatty foods are hard on the stomach and digestion in general.
- Spicy foods can upset a sensitive stomach and exacerbate diarrhea.
- Dietary fiber is great for you—unless you have the stomach flu. Fiber-rich foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains) stimulate digestion and can irritate your lower digestive tract, which is already under stress.
- Alcohol is acidic and causes inflammation in the stomach.
- Sugar causes inflammation. In some people, spikes in blood sugar can cause nausea, which you probably already have enough of.
- Soda is bad for you under any circumstances and no more so than if you have the stomach flu. Sugar, caffeine, and acids in soda are disastrous for the digestive system. Ginger ale is noted for settling an upset stomach and alleviating nausea but the stuff you buy has little or no real ginger in it and is full of sugar. Try a homemade ginger ale (get the recipe here).
- Processed foods contain various chemicals and additives that can aggravate digestion.
- Artificial sweeteners put extreme stress on the digestive system.
- Acidic foods like citrus fruit and tomatoes can aggravate an upset stomach.
Home Remedies for Stomach Flu
Your immune system is working feverishly (literally) to rid your body of the pathogen. Over-taxing it by trying to go about your daily business can only prolong the illness. Sleep as much as your body needs. You probably won’t feel like doing much else than lying down so listen to your body and take it easy.
2. Cool Compress
If you have a fever, a cool damp cloth on your forehead can bring relief.
A heating pad or hot water bottle can ease abdominal cramping and muscle aches.