How to calm an upset tummy

An upset stomach may come with a range of symptoms including nausea, diarrhoea or an inability to keep food down. These can cause you to lose fluids, vitamins and minerals, so even though you may not feel like eating your body may need nutrients to get better. Along with staying hydrated, these are the best foods to eat to calm an upset tummy.

What to drink

Ginger is often used as a natural remedy to ease nausea and vomiting. It is most commonly drunk in tea, though it may be cooked or eaten raw. It can also be taken to help prevent nausea associated with motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy.

Chamomile tea
While you can take chamomile as a supplement, drinking it as a tea is affordable and hydrates your body. It is used to help ease nausea, vomiting, gas, indigestion and diarrhoea.

Flaxseed oil
Oil extracted from this fibrous seed, also known as linseed, has been shown to help relieve constipation and ease associated stomach cramps and pains.

What to eat

Papaya reduces constipation and bloating and contains an enzyme called papain, which helps to break down food, making it easier for your body to digest.

If you have been vomiting, or have diarrhoea, your body will likely run low on an important mineral called potassium. Bananas are high in potassium and easy to digest. If you don’t think you can stomach solid food, try eating apple sauce instead. It’s also easy to digest and packed with nutrients such as pectin.

Plain white rice
It may not be the most exciting dish, but starchy, low-fibre foods such as white rice can help add bulk to your stool, helping to ease diarrhoea.

Plain white toast
Similar to white rice, plain white bread is low in fibre. While fibre is good for you most of the time, it can exacerbate symptoms of nausea and diarrhoea.

Chicken and potatoes
If plain foods are staying down and haven’t caused any further upset, then it may be time to try eating a more substantial meal of plain foods. Potato and chicken breast are filling but easy on the stomach.

What to avoid

Many dairy products including cheese, ice cream and milk are high in fat, which can be hard to digest. However, Greek or plain, non-fat yoghurt are rich in probiotics, beneficial in restoring gut health, so you may want to begin incorporating small servings back into your diet if you haven’t thrown up or experienced diarrhoea for 24 hours.

Fried food
High-fat foods are hard to digest and will put more pressure on your stomach. Fried foods are also unlikely to provide many nutritional benefits and won’t aid in your recovery.

Sugar and spice
Consuming a large amount of sugar in a short period may worsen diarrhoea. Your body also has to work hard to digest spicy foods, which can worsen a stomach upset.

Raw fruit and vegetables
While fruit and vegetables are good for you most of the time, the fibre in them can worsen diarrhoea. It’s best to give them the pass until your symptoms have cleared up for at least a day or you may risk exacerbating your tummy upset.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

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Written by Liv Gardiner


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