Everyone gets an upset stomach from time to time.
“It’s totally normal, and it happens to everyone,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian based in New York City. “It could be a meal that didn’t agree with you for whatever reason, it could be stress, nerves or it could just be a 24-hour bug.” Parasites and food allergies and sensitivities can also cause stomach troubles.
Fortunately, there are certain foods you can eat when you have an upset stomach that should help you feel better.
Here are 12 foods that are good to eat for an upset stomach:
1. Broth-based soups
Broth-based soups — like chicken soup — are easy to digest and provide vitamins, protein and other nutrients your body needs. Soups can also help keep your body hydrated if you’ve been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.
2. Crackers (plain)
You may not have much of an appetite if you have an upset stomach, but it’s important to eat something that’s light and easily digestible. Saltine crackers without any toppings would be a good choice, says Lisa Jones, a registered dietitian based in Philadelphia.
Plain saltines or saltine-like crackers are a good choice because they’re made with white flour, which has fiber and other nutrients removed. Crackers made from whole-grain crackers contain insoluble fiber, which wouldn’t be ideal for people with diarrhea because it increases bulk in the stool and acts like a laxative.
3. Dry white toast
Like crackers, dry white toast is easy to digest and probably won’t make you feel worse if you have an upset stomach, says Steven Lalevich, a registered dietitian with Healthy IU, the employee wellness program at Indiana University.
Because it’s made from refined flour that removes fiber, white toast is a better choice than whole-grain options. Whole grain bread contains fiber, which makes your digestive system work harder than white bread.
If you’re suffering from nausea, ginger can help mitigate your symptoms, Lalevich says. Research suggests that ginger has antioxidant properties; antioxidants help prevent chronic diseases by protecting healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Here are three ginger-based foods and drinks that may help alleviate an upset stomach:
— Ginger tea.
— Ginger chews.
— Crystallized ginger chips.
5. Other herbs and spices
“Many people should consider various herbs and spices when they have stomach pain,” says Dr. Carolyn Kaloostian, a family medicine specialist with Keck Medicine of USC and clinical associate professor of family medicine with the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Things like ginger, licorice, chamomile, spearmint and mint can help soothe.”
Chamomile, for example, has anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties and seems to help reduce gas and relieve an upset stomach. Licorice root also appears to have immune-boosting qualities and has been found to help with stomach pain. Given the toleration of and need for fluids, tea is a great way to take in herbs and spices like chamomile that may soothe the stomach.
Coriander, cardamom and fennel have been found to help with things like easing indigestion, as as well as reducing bloating and constipation. Although the exact reasons for this aren’t well understood or thoroughly studied, it’s thought that spices like coriander may stimulate the gut to help with digestion and keep things moving.
6. White rice
Plain white rice is easy to digest and provides energy because it contains carbohydrates, Gans says.
7. Unseasoned, skinless chicken, turkey or fish
Even when you have an upset stomach, you will eventually feel hungry. Unseasoned and skinless chicken, turkey or fish that’s broiled, roasted or grilled is easy to digest and provides protein and satiety.
8. Plain scrambled eggs
Easy to digest and prepare, plain scrambled eggs are a good food to eat with an upset stomach, Gans says. They provide protein and carbs.
“You can throw them on dry toast,” she says. “You’re getting a mini-meal when you don’t feel like eating. It gives you some sustenance.”
Whole-wheat cereals are typically a healthy bet, but when your gut is upset, switching to oats can be relieving, says Maxine Smith, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
Oats “are a source of soluble fiber, which can normalize bowel movements and may be better tolerated than wheat, which is a notable source of insoluble fiber,” she says. Gluten and fermentable carbs in wheat may also make oats a better pick when your stomach is feeling sick.
10. Sugarless gum
Chewing sugar-free gum may also be helpful for an upset stomach, Kaloostian says. Some research suggests that chewing gum for 30 minutes after a meal can be beneficial.
Gum chewing promotes salivation, “which neutralizes acid, soothes the esophagus, and washes acid back down to the stomach,” according to Harvard Health. It’s best to avoid peppermint-flavored gum, which may lead to heartburn.
11. Unsweetened applesauce
Unsweetened applesauce can be helpful for people suffering from an upset stomach. Applesauce is part of the BRAT diet. BRAT is an acronym for “Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.” Some physicians and registered dietitians say the eating plan can be a helpful short-term regimen for individuals who are suffering from an upset stomach.
Applesauce is gentle on the stomach, even though it has some fiber, Gans says. This fiber can be helpful if experiencing diarrhea.
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help promote healthy digestion, Lalevich says. It’s also a great source of important nutrients like protein and calcium. For an upset stomach, fat-free or low-fat yogurt may be easier to tolerate than full-fat varieties.
To recap here are 12 foods that are good for an upset stomach:
— Broth-based soups.
— Crackers (plain).
— Dry toast.
— Other herbs and spices.
— White rice.
— Unseasoned, skinless chicken, turkey or fish.
— Plain scrambled eggs.
— Sugarless gum.
— Unsweetened applesauce.
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Update 01/13/22: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.