The Ideal Diet for Gastroenteritis

HealthHearty Staff Nov 3, 2018
When it comes to diet for gastroenteritis, one should essentially focus on drinking adequate fluids and eating bland foods.

Dietary Changes

As the condition is marked by frequent episodes of vomiting, the patient should withhold intake of solid food for a couple of days. So, initially following a liquid diet is crucial to ease symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, is a digestive problem in which the stomach lining is inflamed. People tend to catch this stomach virus often after consuming unhygienic food.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, nausea, crampy abdominal pain and vomiting. Medications alone won't work unless a complete overhaul in diet is made.

Gastroenteritis Diet

As anything solid that is consumed will be vomited, patients with gastroenteritis are advised to avoid eating solid foods for a few days and follow a full liquid diet.

Liquid Diet

Liquid diet does not mean indulging in soft drinks, carbonated or caffeinated beverages. In fact, these beverages need to be completely avoided to prevent symptoms from worsening.
Frequent vomiting associated with gastroenteritis can cause enormous loss of fluids and electrolytes. So, to prevent dehydration, one should have adequate water and electrolyte-containing liquids such as pedialyte and Gatorade. In severe cases, the patient is given fluids intravenously.
Vegetable juices are also excellent sources of electrolytes. Hence, their addition to your liquid diet may certainly benefit from a health standpoint. 
However, avoid citrus juices such as orange juice, tomato juice and pineapple juice as they are highly acidic, which can irritate the stomach lining and aggravate the pain. Depending upon the severity of the illness, one may have to follow a liquid diet for many days.
As long as the infection persists, one should distance oneself from coffee, soda and tea because they can aggravate pain. Ice creams with coffee flavor or medicines that contain caffeine should also be avoided. However, taking herbal teas such as chamomile tea can provide some amount of comfort.

Bland Diet

After your vomiting episodes stop, you can introduce bland foods into your gastroenteritis diet. Bland foods such as bananas, plain steamed rice, well-cooked soft cereals, plain spaghetti and apples without peels are easy to digest. Having plain bread, boiled rice, toast and soft foods such as macaroni may also be tolerated by your weak digestive system.
Once you start feeling better, you may start eating fruits and well-cooked vegetables but avoid eating cabbage, broccoli and beans as they release excess amount of gas during digestion and cause bloating. Avoid gassy foods during the recovery phase to prevent any sort of abdominal discomfort.

Gastroenteritis and Yogurt

Due to gastroenteritis, the population of good bacteria decreases substantially. Yogurt contains active and good bacteria that not only improve digestion but also repair the damaged lining of the stomach.
So, for a healthy, happy stomach, having a cup of yogurt everyday is definitely recommended. However, milk from which yogurt is derived, should be avoided as it can aggravate diarrhea.

Ways to Facilitate Recovery from Gastroenteritis

As people contract stomach bug often from eating contaminated food, it is crucial to follow good sanitary practices. So, apart from following the right diet, ensure that proper hygiene is followed when cooking food. Washing your hands properly with a good antiseptic soap before having meals is also necessary to control and prevent viral outbreaks.
On the whole, unless your health doesn't return to normalcy, taking bed rest as much as possible and following the recommended dietary changes is important to speed up recovery from gastroenteritis.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this write-up is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.