When your stomach is feeling unwell eating becomes tricky. You don’t want to ingest any foods that will make it even more upset but you can’t fast for long either or you’ll become weaker and worse. What to eat when your stomach hurts, then?
What to eat when your stomach hurts
The key is to choose foods and drinks that don’t put a strain on your digestive system and actually help to soothe the ache. You need to start as plain as possible to build up your resistance and slowly add your regular foods until you can keep everything down and your pain subdues.
Plain white rice
White rice is starchy and low-fiber, which makes it easy to digest. It also absorbs more fluids while bulking up the stool, which can help prevent or treat diarrhea.
Whole-grains are healthier than white rice, but harder to digest. Stay away from them for as long as your stomach is upset, but do go back to eating them once you’re feeling well again.
Ginger or ginger tea
Try munching on a bit of a fresh, peeled root or prepare a warm tea with it to soothe your stomach.
Apples go easy on your digestive system and they provide for several important nutrients to support your well-being. If you’re not sure you can’t keep any food down, try to make an apple pure to reduce the strain of your stomach and ease up the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
This fruit is also rich in pectins, which bulk the stool and thus help with diarrhea, while at the same time stimulates the bowel movement so constipation doesn’t become an issue either.
Plain white bread toast
One of the reasons why it’s important to know what to eat when your stomach hurts is because healthy food is not always the best option and otherwise discouraged ones can become good allies.
Whole grains are healthier and contain more nutrients than white bread. However, their richness works against them when you’re feeling unwell.
In this case, the less your stomach needs to work to break nutrients, the better. Try instead to eat a plain white toast since it’s easier to digest and less likely to cause rumbles. It can also help to avoid acid reflux and adding heartburn to your list of symptoms.
Bananas are rich in potassium. This mineral is responsible to signal the brain the need to contract the gastrointestinal muscles so digestion can proceed smoothly. A potassium deficiency can cause and be caused by an upset stomach, as you lose fluids through vomiting and diarrhea.
Next time you don’t know what to eat when your stomach hurts, just grab a banana not completely ripe, but not green either.
Beverages with electrolytes
An upset stomach is normally accompanied by diarrhea and/or vomits, which can produce dehydration quickly. Drinking plenty of fluids is key to preventing and revert this status.
Focus particularly on those with potassium, calcium and sodium, as these minerals are electrolytes which keep hydration levels balanced and support a normal nervous system functioning.
Papayas contain papain and chymopapain enzymes, which support a healthy acid environment in the stomach while helping to break down proteins for an easier digestion.
Chamomile a tea
Chamomile tea has soothing properties that calm the body and consequently the stomach too.
Besides being very easy to digest and safe, a 2016 research confirmed it can be useful to treat gastrointestinal disorders, ulcerative colitis and diarrhea due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect.
What not to eat when your stomach hurts
Knowing what to eat when your stomach hurts is the first step to recovery, but you also need to be aware of what not to eat.
As some foods can help you soothe the pain and build up your stomach resistance once again, others can destroy your efforts and even worsen your symptoms.
Low-fat dairy products can be well tolerated and, if rich in probiotics, they can even help to relieve bowel problems. However, regular dairy can be hard to digest due to their fat content.
If you’re intolerant or sensitive to lactose, then you should avoid dairy completely. Also, some bacterial infections can affect the enzyme lactase, responsible for digesting lactose, and condition its efficiency.
Sodas have plenty of chemicals that could affect your sensitive stomach and worsen the symptoms. Plus, the carbonation means you will be ingesting and adding air to your gut. This can produce more flatulence, leave you bloated and even cause pain if you’re already suffering from constipation.
Fried and fatty food
Fried and fatty food in general have a high content of fats and oils which are hard to digest and put a strain on your already debilitated stomach.
You should avoid them even if you are healthy.
Spices add flavor to food, but they also represent extra work for your stomach. Even if you are used to eating them and can tolerate them quite well, it’s better to play safe and stick to plain food until your digestive system feels better again.
Veggies are another great example of why you should know what to eat when your stomach hurts.
They are packed with nutrients and your body welcomed them with open arms when it’s healthy. However, veggies such as broccoli, onion or cauliflower also contain raffinose, a complex sugar that it’s hard to digest and tends to produce more gases.
Slowly introduce them back into your diet as you get progressively better.
Processed foods can hide a high content of sugar and sweeteners that can be hard to digest and upset your stomach. They also tend to have a high-fat content which put a strain on your digestive system.
Plus, they are normally packed with chemicals and preservatives to increase their shelf-life.
Why does your stomach hurt?
Your stomach can hurt for several reasons. The symptoms and kind of discomfort you are feeling can be an indicator of what may be the matter, though.
The most common causes of stomach pain are:
- Trapped wind – you feel bloated or fart more than usual.
- Constipation – you can’t poo.
- Indigestion – you feel discomfort after eating or heartburn.
- Food poisoning – you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
- Menstrual cramps
- Stomach virus
- Food allergy
- Lactose intolerance
Adapt your food intake to your symptoms
Your stomach can be upset due to different reasons, so you need to pay attention to other symptoms you might be feeling too to assess what to eat when your stomach hurts.
Check your poop for clues of what might be going on. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, remember to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration and try to reduce your intake of fiber.
On the other hand, if you suspect constipation is causing your stomach to become upset, you can add some natural laxatives to your diet to keep everything flowing right without straining your body.
You can also check in the video below the 3 most common mistakes people make while eating and that can cause your stomach to feel upset. More likely than not, your case is due to one of these.