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6 Best Foods to Eat for an Upset Stomach, Says Dietitian

These foods may help alleviate bouts of nausea.

Nearly all of us find ourselves suffering from the occasional wave of tummy troubles: indigestion, minor acid reflux, nausea, bloating, or gas. However, sometimes symptoms like nausea can show up at inconvenient times, and it's worth exploring if there are certain foods for an upset stomach that might tame this unpleasant feeling.

Just a reminder: it's important to address with your doctor if nausea is persistent, as this could indicate a digestive issue (and if you're a woman of child-bearing age, confirm you aren't pregnant).

Nausea is a result of complex mechanisms that involve the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, the presence of gastric dysrhythmias (functional stomach rhythm irregularities), and the endocrine system. And, it's quite common.

A 2016 review in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology reports that among population studies, more than 30% of adults had at least one episode of nausea in the previous 12 months, with women citing nausea more often than men.

Here are six foods which may help you calm nausea and get you back to feeling like yourself ASAP.

1

Ginger

ginger root
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This plant has an incredible history of being recommended as a go-to remedy for nausea. Most ginger research, as noted in this 2020 systematic review in Nutrients, is centered around ginger's ability to suppress nausea associated with the recovery period after surgery, pregnancy, cancer chemotherapy, and sometimes motion sickness.

However, ginger may reduce general surges of nausea in some people. Ginger can be found in many forms, such as lozenges, chews, candies, flavored drinks, teas, tinctures, supplements, grounds, or grated and mixed into dishes.

2

Bananas

sliced banana
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A way of eating that has been recognized for years as a method to control nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, is the "BRAT" diet. This is an acronym which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are gentler on your digestive tract and are generally more bland. A yellow banana with just a couple small brown spots on the peel is the best stage of ripeness for helping to squash nausea.

3

Toast

butter toast
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The last food in the aforementioned "BRAT" diet is toast. This starchy food is mild enough to not overwhelm your senses when needing a snack or as part of a meal, which makes it one of the better choices of foods for an upset stomach. More neutral foods that don't give off a strong taste or smell are usually tolerated well by people experiencing nausea.

Although we should normally always be striving for whole grain options, the extra fiber from whole grain toast or crackers may be more difficult to digest if you are actively enduring nausea. In this instance, refined white flours for toast or crackers is acceptable and may help relieve nausea more quickly.

4

Broth

chicken broth
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Broth can be enjoyed via sipping by mug or by the spoonful from a soup bowl. This soothing and very light food/beverage should be able to easily be consumed without upsetting your stomach, while contributing to your hydration goals. Seek out reduced or low-sodium broth options, whether it be vegetable or animal-based.

5

Popsicles

fruit popsicles
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You know that feeling of refreshment on a hot summer day from a nice, chilled popsicle? That same kind of relief might be able to be replicated amid an episode of nausea. Try to select a popsicle made from 100% fruit, even if this means freezing a blended fruit smoothie or mixing 100% juices like apple or orange juice in your own popsicle molds.

6

Pretzels

pretzels
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Hard pretzels in stick or twist form are a terrifically easy snack choice if you are hit with nausea. Pretzels are crunchy and can be enjoyed slowly while sitting down to relax while nausea subsides. They are another example of an easily digestible food with mild flavor and no off-putting smells.

Read more about how to tame nausea with tea by heading to The #1 Best Tea for Nausea, Says Dietitian.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD
Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian. Read more