Nutrition for Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
Nutrition for nausea, vomiting or diarrhea consists of foods that are bland and gentle on the stomach. If you have nausea or vomiting, it may be hard to hold down food. Some foods may even make your symptoms worse. If you are experiencing diarrhea, the diet suggested below may help solidify your stools.
You may have heard of the BRAT diet which stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. The BRAT diet was often recommended for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but is no longer because of how restrictive it is. Below are lists of foods to focus on and avoid when experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, but there are many more foods that can be included.
FOODS TO FOCUS ON
- Soft fruits: bananas, applesauce, avocado, pumpkin, canned fruit (packed in water not heavy syrup), and melons
- Steamed or boiled vegetables: carrots, green beans, potatoes, and squash
- Low-fiber starches: white bread, white rice, saltine crackers, cream of wheat, instant oatmeal, and noodles
- Unseasoned skinless baked chicken or turkey, scrambled eggs, yogurt and kefir
- Drinks: bone broth, apple juice, coconut water, Pedialyte, weak tea
- Homemade oral rehydration solution to prevent dehydration: 1 Liter of clean or boiled water, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 6 teaspoons of sugar and stir until both salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Cool down the water to room temperature or cooler before drinking.
FOODS TO AVOID
- Avoid milk and dairy products for three days. Yogurt and kefir are okay
- Avoid fried, fatty, greasy and spicy foods
- Avoid pork, veal, salmon, and sardines
- Avoid raw vegetables such as parsnips, beets, sauerkraut, corn on the cob, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions
- Avoid citrus fruits: pineapples, oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes
- Other fruits to avoid: tomatoes, cherries, grapes, figs, raisins, and seeded berries
- Avoid extremely hot or cold beverages
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid coffee and caffeinated sodas
- Avoid added sugars and sweets like candy, soda and most juice
ADDITIONAL HEALTH GUIDELINES
- Choose liquids that contain some sugar and salt to prevent dehydration, such as Pedialyte or apple juice with a pinch of salt.
- Rest and avoid exertion to give your body a chance to recover.
- Consult your health care provider about taking medication.
- Nausea and vomiting may have different causes. Please contact your healthcare provider if these symptoms last more than 24 hours and seek immediate care if you cannot hold down clear liquids.
- Diarrhea may be "acute", beginning suddenly and resolving over a few days with dietary changes, or of a "chronic" ongoing process. Causes of diarrhea lasting more than 3 days should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
- Additional symptoms that are concerning are: fever, weight loss, lightheadedness (feeling of faintness), rectal bleeding or abdominal pain.
First six hours:
In the immediate six or so hours after vomiting has stopped, it is best to give your stomach a rest. Following a period of one to two hours, suck on hard candy or popsicles (no chewing). Then progress to ice chips or sips of water if nausea persists.
First 24 hours (Day One):
Gradually add clear liquids if the vomiting has ceased. Beginning with a sip or two every ten minutes is a good way to start. Suggestions include water, apple juice, electrolyte beverage, weak tea, Jell-O (in liquid or gelatin form), broth or bouillon (clear base from a non-greasy soup). If symptoms of nausea or vomiting return, begin the process again, taking nothing by mouth for an hour or so.
Begin to add bland, low-fat foods as listed above, like bananas, rice, applesauce, crackers, cooked cereals (Farina, Cream of Wheat), toast and jelly, yogurt, cooked carrots, and chicken or turkey. Eat small meals every few hours.
Progress to a "regular" diet if symptoms have improved. Continue to eat small meals every few hours. If still having symptoms, continue to focus on bland foods listed above.