When your stomach hurts and you feel like moving will make you sick, the thought of putting food into your mouth might make you feel even sicker. However, certain foods can settle your upset stomach and help you feel better faster.
If you’re not feeling well, make a point to stay away from fried food, spicy food, soda, and dairy. Instead, try eating any one of the seven foods listed below.
Sure, it might not be a food, but getting plenty of liquids is essential when you have an upset stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea cause your body to lose a lot of water, so hydration is a must.
If you know that eating will make you vomit, you can also use liquids to provide your body with some of the nutrients it needs. Liquids like clear broth and coconut water can give you minerals like calcium and potassium, helping you stay healthy until you can eat solid food once again.
Bananas are an excellent food to eat when you have an upset stomach since they contain a good amount of potassium, which your body often loses when you’re sick. They’re also easy to digest, so you don’t have to worry about exacerbating your current stomach issues.
3. White rice
Rice is another great food to turn to when your stomach hurts. Just make sure it’s white, as brown or wild rice are challenging for your body to digest — especially when you haven’t eaten much else.
Try eating a bowl of rice once you know that you can stomach solid food. You can then start eating rice-based meals, like rice soup or congee, as you improve.
4. White bread
Toast or plain bread can also help you when your stomach isn’t feeling great. Like rice, however, you’ll want to stay away from the non-white varieties until you’re feeling better. While healthier, they can contain high amounts of the fiber you want when you’re not sick, but that can make an upset stomach feel worse.
Papaya, a sweet, orange-colored tropical fruit, is another good food that can help an upset stomach feel better. It contains papain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins and makes them easier to digest. While more research is needed, that enzyme seems to help with bloating and constipation — two common symptoms of an upset stomach (1).
When shopping for papayas, choose ones with reddish-orange skin that feel soft to touch. Once you’re ready to eat papaya, just cut it and scoop out the seeds.
6. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
As your stomach starts to feel better, you don’t want to overload it with complex meals. If you haven’t felt sick for 24-48 hours, try adding boneless, skinless chicken breasts into your diet. You can pair it with a baked potato and some cooked vegetables.
Once you feel fine eating that, you can slowly add additional foods back into your diet.
The relief your stomach needs
You want to be careful when your stomach isn’t feeling great. Eating the wrong things can exacerbate whatever symptoms you’re experiencing.
Try eating some of the foods mentioned in this article next time you have an upset stomach to feel better and give your body the nutrients it needs.