What to Eat and Drink When You Have a Stomach Flu
Stomach flu is an infection of the stomach and the intestines. Stomach flu shares the same symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and fever. Stomach flu also causes loss of appetite which makes difficult for a patient to eat.
Foods to eat
When it comes to stomach flu, you must be careful about what you eat. The best foods to take include:
- Ice chips
Ice chips are especially good if you are having a difficult time keeping fluids down. Sucking on ice helps to hydrate. However, children should not be given ice chips because they could easily choke on them.
- BRAT diet
If you have ever had stomach flu before, you have probably heard about the BRAT diet. BRAT simply stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. The BRAT diet is bland and binding. This helps to make stools more firm. Even better, bananas contain potassium which helps to replace nutrients that are lost from vomiting and diarrhea.
- Cinnamon and vinegar
These spices are believed to help relieve the symptoms of gastroenteritis.
- Eggs: they provide nutrition to the body and are easier on the stomach
- Broth-based soups: they contain salt which is good for you
- Salty crackers: they contain salt which helps replace lost sodium and chloride. They are also good for nausea.
Fluids to drink
It is especially important to stay hydrated when having a stomach flu because of dehydration due to vomiting. Therefore, you need to take plenty of water, sports drinks and other clear liquids. When taking these fluids, take small sips. Infants should get plenty of breast milk while toddlers should drink electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte®.
You can also take coffee. Caffeine-free teas can help replenish lost fluids. Varieties like peppermint calm the stomach. Ginger tea is good for easing nausea and lemon can help you get a little extra vitamin C. however, you should completely avoid caffeine because it can act as a diuretic which will make you urinate and lose fluids that you need to hydrate.
Apple cider vinegar is also good as some people report that it has helped ease their nausea and stomach upset.
Now that you know the foods you need to eat, there are also foods that you need to avoid. These include:
- Dairy products: stomach flu makes it difficult to digest the lactose milk in cheese and other dairy products. It can also cause diarrhea if you are lactose intolerant.
- Fatty foods: greasy and fatty foods tend to make you feel full which can aggravate a stomach upset and cause loose stools
- Spicy foods: heavy, hot spices like chili, hot pepper may aggravate your symptoms even more
- Caffeine: it is a diuretic which will cause you to urinate and lose fluids
- Fiber: with diarrhea, fiber can aggravate already loose bowels
- Alcohol: it can cause irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining
- Acidic foods
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
It looks like you have more foods to avoid than those you should take. Just stick to the BRAT diet and you will safe.