6 Foods and Drinks for When You Have the Stomach Flu


6 Foods and Drinks for When You Have the Stomach Flu

When afflicted with viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as the stomach flu, specific dietary choices can offer relief and aid in recovery. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort are typical manifestations of this highly contagious condition, with norovirus being a predominant culprit, causing millions of cases annually in the United States alone. Opting for easily digestible options like ice chips, clear broths, and bland foods such as bananas can help soothe the stomach, alleviate discomfort, and support a quicker recovery process. Here,
we present 17 recommended foods and beverages to consider when navigating the challenges of the stomach flu.

1 Replenishing Clear Fluids

The stomach flu often brings on symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, which can swiftly lead to dehydration without proper fluid replacement. Clear liquids, primarily composed of water and sometimes containing sugars for added energy, offer a gentle way to rehydrate and ease digestion compared to beverages like orange juice and milk, which may exacerbate symptoms. Recommended options include water, broth, oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, herbal or decaffeinated teas, clear fruit juices like apple, cranberry, and grape juice, sports drinks, and coconut water. However, it's crucial to be mindful of the high sugar content in fruit juices and sports drinks and avoid excessive consumption, especially for infants and young children, as they may worsen diarrhea unless under professional guidance.

2 Soothing Ice Chips for Hydration

Dehydration is a prevalent complication associated with the stomach flu. While staying hydrated is essential during this illness, consuming fluids too rapidly can exacerbate symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Sucking on ice chips offers a gentle approach to hydration, preventing the intake of liquids at a pace that may trigger discomfort. This method can help individuals with the stomach flu retain fluids more effectively in the initial phases of the illness, supporting hydration and symptom management.

3. Electrolyte beverages

Electrolytes, essential electrically charged minerals vital for functions like blood pressure regulation and muscle activity, play a pivotal role in maintaining bodily health.

Restoring lost fluids and electrolytes forms the cornerstone of treatment for stomach flu.

At the initial onset of diarrhea and vomiting, healthcare providers often advise the use of oral rehydration solutions, particularly for infants and children. These solutions are formulated with water, sugar, and electrolytes in precise ratios for easy absorption.

While sports drinks offer another option for replenishing fluids and electrolytes, they tend to be higher in sugar. Nevertheless, studies indicate they may be equally effective as oral rehydration solutions in treating dehydration in adults.

 4 Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is believed to offer relief from stomach flu symptoms, with its aroma alone potentially alleviating nausea.

A 2014 study involving 26 individuals who experienced post-surgery nausea found that inhaling peppermint oil during deep breathing exercises helped reduce nausea.

Although research specifically on peppermint tea's benefits for stomach flu is limited, trying it poses little risk. At the very least, peppermint tea provides a potential source of essential fluids during bouts of the stomach flu.

5. Ginger

Ginger is a widely recognized remedy for alleviating nausea, a prominent symptom of the stomach flu.

Although research specifically on ginger's efficacy for stomach flu-related nausea is limited, studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing nausea associated with pregnancy, cancer treatment, and motion sickness.

Ginger can be consumed in various forms, including fresh, as a spice, or as an ingredient in teas, ginger ale, and candies.

While concentrated forms of ginger, such as syrups, capsules, and tinctures, are available, it's advisable to exercise caution with these as high doses may lead to diarrhea.

Instead, incorporating freshly grated ginger root into soups or brewing it as a tea is a recommended approach for relieving nausea caused by the stomach flu.

 5 Eggs

Eggs offer a nourishing option during episodes of the stomach flu.

When cooked with minimal fat, dairy, and spices, eggs are gentle on the stomach.

Rich in protein, with approximately 6 grams per large egg, they also supply essential nutrients such as B vitamins and selenium, crucial for supporting the immune system.

It's advisable to steer clear of frying eggs in oil, butter, or lard, as excessive fat content may exacerbate diarrhea symptoms. Instead, opt for preparation methods that minimize added fats to promote easier digestion.

6 Fruit

When combating the stomach flu, prioritizing fluid replenishment is crucial.

While beverages are commonly relied upon for hydration, many fruits boast a high water content, ranging from 80% to 90%. Among the top hydrating fruits are watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches. Additionally, fruits offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, and vitamins A and C.

However, the high fiber content in whole fruits may pose digestion challenges. Opting for cooked fruits like applesauce can be gentler on the stomach.

It's advisable to steer clear of certain foods and beverages that may exacerbate stomach flu symptoms:

Caffeinated beverages: Caffeine can disrupt sleep quality, hindering recovery, while coffee's stimulation of digestion may worsen diarrhea. High-fat and fried foods: These are harder to digest and may induce diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Spicy foods: Some individuals may experience nausea and vomiting triggered by spicy foods. Sugary foods and beverages: Excessive sugar can worsen diarrhea, particularly in children. Milk and dairy products: Lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy, may be challenging to digest during stomach flu, leading to prolonged discomfort.

In conclusion, managing the stomach flu involves navigating challenging dietary choices.

Starting with ice chips, clear liquids, and electrolyte beverages aids in replenishing fluids and electrolytes.

Until tolerance for the usual diet resumes, opting for bland options like soups, refined grains, and plain potatoes is prudent. Eggs and unsweetened applesauce are also gentler on the digestive system.

Resting, staying hydrated, and incorporating recommended foods can expedite recovery from the stomach flu.