Whether it’s stomach flu or something else that’s got you down, there are a few different food options to get you feeling better. The best food to eat when you have a stomach bug are those that contain vital nutrients and are easy to digest. Today we are going to look at which of these foods are best and why.
What is Stomach Flu?
In medical terms, stomach flu is known as viral gastroenteritis. It is easily contracted and is very contagious. Once in the body, it wreaks havoc on the stomach and intestines. The Norovirus is the most common culprit. It can cause nausea, body aches, fever, chills, cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, weakness, and malaise.
Is It Stomach Flu, Lactose Intolerance, or Food Poisoning?
While lactose intolerance can be mistaken for other ailments, there are a few symptoms to look for. Symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. In comparison to stomach flu, it is much milder and symptoms should resolve much sooner. To avoid these symptoms, people with lactose-intolerance should try to cut lactose out of their diet. If you have accidentally consumed dairy and these symptoms present themselves you can try a couple of things. You can adjust your posture to help take the pressure off of your stomach and you can take an antacid to help neutralize the gas and bloating.
Be careful not to make your lactose intolerance symptoms worse by treating them like other stomach pain.
Similar in symptoms but not to be confused with stomach flu, food poisoning can cause significant discomfort and may even require medical attention. If you’re not sure what you have and you’re in a lot of pain, it may be time to see your doctor.
Foods That Help Stomach Flu
What we eat matters a lot. Avoid sugary highly processed food products. Junk foods can make us feel worse and prolong our sickness, while healthy organic foods can put us on the path to recovery. Let’s outline a few different food items that boost the immune system and are conducive to healing.
Garlic – Is a natural antibiotic and is very powerful. Be careful though, like pharmaceutical-grade medicines, botanical varieties are potent. Too much garlic can cause more stomach discomfort. Use it in moderation.
Ginger – Naturally settles the stomach and aids in digestion. It can be used as a tea or eaten directly.
Lemon Grass – A powerhouse of immune-boosting protection. Lemongrass is a natural anti-inflammatory, has calcium, iron, vitamin C, and many antioxidants. It can reduce pain, fever, and swelling.
Lemon – Has properties that kill pathogens and contains vitamin C.
Oregano – A natural antibiotic that stamps out viruses and invading bacteria. It stimulates digestion and will settle down an upset stomach. Used it in broth, in tea, or eat it directly.
Mint – Has natural anti-microbial properties. It relieves gas, bloating, and is an antispasmodic. It aids in digestion as well.
Parsley – Loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C along with other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use it in broths and medicinal teas.
Salt – This mineral actually helps us stay hydrated. During times of vomiting and diarrhea, salt is one of the elements that gets depleted. During an episode of stomach flu, salt should be replenished.
Pedialyte – It’s really important to avoid dehydration when you have stomach flu. If your regular food and beverage choices are not enough, consider adding Pedialyte. It is specially formulated to hydrate, replenish electrolytes, and provide vital minerals so you can feel better and recover faster.
Bone broth is a savory soup made from boiling soup bones, herbs, and vegetables. This broth has remarkable healing properties. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it provides a long list of beneficial elements that will put you on the mend. It has protein, healthy fats, collagen, gelatine, vitamins, and minerals. Bone broth can be easily made from either chicken or beef. Broth made from scratch has the most effective healing properties. Also it is a food that is great when you have a stomach bug
- Chicken – To make chicken bone broth, one typically takes a whole chicken and boils the entire bird. After a few hours, a rich fatty broth will develop. Pull out the bird and debone the meat. You can enjoy the broth by itself or add the meat back into the stew. All the herbs mentioned above can be incorporated into the stew as well.
- Beef – Meaty soup bones will do the best job. Look for oxtail, short ribs, or knuckle bones for your stock.
- The Best Veggies to Add: You can enjoy plain broth on its own or you can add in a variety of healing vegetables to make it more potent. For either chicken or beef, feel free to add carrots, celery, leek, and parsley.
Helpful Hint: Never underestimate the convenience and benefit of utilizing a crockpot. Instead of having to watch the stove, you can place your items to boil in a crockpot. Time is the main variable for determining if this is the best cooking method for you. Crockpots do tend to take longer. If you need broth in a hurry, then the stovetop is the way to go.
BRAT – Food for Stomach Bugs
The BRAT diet was traditionally developed by pediatricians to help their little patients recover from stomach upset. These gentle and bland foods are said to help the body mend. Some opponents of the BRAT diet say that there are other food options that are better. They point out that an ill person should have a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. The food associated with BRAT diet are some of the best to eat when you have a stomach bug. The BRAT diet is generally considered safe in the short term, but experts agree that it should not be a long term solution for chronic stomach issues.
Banana – Loaded with potassium, pectin, and other nutrients. This fruit is full of electrolytes. Studies have revealed that eating bananas can stop diarrhea.
Rice – May provide a starchy energy boost and may help loose stool bind together.
Applesauce – Apples are great for us and should be a regular part of our diet. They have pectin, fiber, and help us stay hydrated. Applesauce is easy to eat and is a good go-to when you’re not feeling well. It will add bulk to stool and may help to slow diarrhea.
Toast – Helps soak up stomach acid and bind loose stools together for easier elimination.
If you ever find yourself suffering from a stomach bug, remember that nature has provided a colorful array of delicious foods to heal us, sustain us, and help us recover quickly. Use these tips and find the best food for you when you have a stomach bug. It is advisable to seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner, naturopathic doctor, and/or nutritionist if you are sick. Try to rest as much as possible and ask family members to prepare wholesome foods & beverages for you.