What To Eat With An Upset Stomach

What To Eat With An Upset Stomach
hospital administrator team

Many readers are interested in the following topic: What are the best foods for an upset stomach. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

As much as you might love sipping on ginger ale when you’re feeling under the weather, kombucha is a better-for-you, lower-sugar option, says Goldberg. Many kombuchas taste somewhat similar to ginger ale and contain probiotics, which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome and thus help reduce inflammation.

The 14 Best Foods To Eat When You Have An Upset Stomach, According To Nutritionists

Saltines are a solid choice. Ginger ale? Not so much.

What To Eat With An Upset Stomach

By Marissa Miller Published: Sep 23, 2019

Four saltine and crumbs on white

Wendy Van // Getty Images

Whether you’ve got a stomach bug, a condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or just drank too many margs last night, your first instinct is probably to load up on saltine crackers and ginger ale. (Anyone else? Just me?)

After all, no one wants to eat the wrong thing and make an already angry stomach even. angrier.

“When your stomach is upset, you want to make sure you’re doing everything to mitigate the symptoms and feel better,” says dietitian Valerie Goldberg, RD. “You want easy-to-digest food. It’s best to avoid anything high in fiber or fat, and to stick with simple carbohydrates and lean protein sources that the body can break down easily.”

Since stomach issues can signal more serious underlying health problems, seek medical attention ASAP if an upset stomach lasts longer than three days or so, says Goldberg. In the meantime, though, the following gut-friendly foods can help ease your queasiness and minimize emergency sprints to the bathroom.

1. White Rice

Low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates, white rice is easy to digest—a major plus when your stomach is on the fritz, says Goldberg. It’s especially settling if you’re nauseous

Eat up: Goldberg recommends pairing white rice with an easy-to-absorb, simple protein like grilled chicken. If that feels too heavy, cook your rice in bone broth for added protein and flavor, or add collagen powder to it.

2. Bananas

With their soft and comforting texture, bananas are easy to absorb and digest. Plus, their soluble fiber helps, well, thicken things up, if you’re suffering from diarrhea, says Goldberg. Just avoid ’em if you’re feeling nauseous; the smell might make you feel worse if you’re not typically a banana fan.

Eat up: Goldberg recommends slowly noshing on frozen bananas, since the cooling effect is soothing for your tum. Once you’re feeling a little better, try DIY “nice cream” by frozen banana, dates, and a dash of cinnamon.

3. Kombucha

Homemade fermented raw kombucha tea with different flavorings. Healthy natural probiotic flavored drink.

sveta_zarzamora // Getty Images

As much as you might love sipping on ginger ale when you’re feeling under the weather, kombucha is a better-for-you, lower-sugar option, says Goldberg. Many kombuchas taste somewhat similar to ginger ale and contain probiotics, which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome and thus help reduce inflammation.

Related Story

Drink up: Kombucha tends to come in funky flavors, so pick whichever you’re most likely to sip on. Goldberg’s favorite flavor: Health Ade’s Ginger Lemon, which levels up the zing of your typical ginger ale.

4. Greek yogurt

No dairy issues? Greek yogurt can actually be super soothing for your stomach. Like kombucha, yogurt contains probiotics, which can help support a healthy gut. (No wonder it’s a go-to for people taking antibiotics!)

Eat up: Since simple, plain foods settle best when you have an upset stomach, eat your Greek yogurt straight from the container, without any crazy add-ons, says Goldberg. You can get back to the granola- and nut butter-topped parfaits when you feel better.

5. Applesauce

Applesauce on pink paper and spoon

8vFanI // Getty Images

There’s a reason hospitals often give applesauce to gastrointestinal surgery patients, says Goldberg. Applesauce contains pectin, a thickening fiber found in apples, which works wonders when you have diarrhea. Plus, it’s easy to get down when you don’t feel like chewing much.

Eat up: If you don’t have any issues with dairy, Goldberg recommends mixing some applesauce with plain Greek yogurt for a meal that’s easy to eat and provides protein.

6. Tea

Get your mug ready: According to Goldberg, tea is super soothing when you have a stomach ache. Peppermint tea, in particular, has been shown to help with indigestion, while ginger tea contains flavonoids with medicinal properties.

Drink up: “If you’re dealing with nausea, try iced ginger tea with fresh mint,” says Goldberg. Just drink it unsweetened, since many sweeteners (especially the artificial ones) pull water into the colon and can make you feel worse.

7. Saltine crackers

Clearly mom was onto something with her childhood stomach ache remedies! While saltines aren’t exactly super nutritious, they contain virtually zero fiber, fat, and sugar, which makes them easy to digest and easy on a weak stomach, says Goldberg.

Eat up: “Pair saltines with soup that has some vegetables and a protein, like chicken,” says Goldberg. Avoid any soups that rely on plant-based sources of protein like tempeh or beans, which are higher in fiber and may cause additional tummy issues.

8. Sweet potatoes

Another stomach-loving carb, sweet potatoes are rich in easy-to-digest starch. “The bonus is that they’re high in potassium, which is important for restoring electrolytes lost in diarrhea or vomiting,” says Goldberg.

Related Story

Eat up: Peel sweet potatoes to remove extra fiber, bake until soft, and mash or puree. Add a dash of cinnamon and a drop of coconut oil for flavor.

9. Coconut water

Coconut water in a jar

Svitlana_Pimenov // Getty Images

When water doesn’t appeal, coconut water contains far less inflammation-inducing sugar than traditional juices, according to Goldberg. Plus, like sweet potatoes, it’s also filled with the electrolyte potassium.

Drink up: Sip on coconut water as desired, and add a dash of salt to help your body retain fluids.

10. Cooked vegetables

Cooking vegetables makes them easier for your stomach to break down, which means it can go easy on stomach acid production—a major plus if you’re not feeling well, says Goldberg. Cooked or not, just stay away from cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, which are typically harder to digest.

Eat up: Boil your veggies lightly, add a dash of salt to replenish any lost sodium, and chew thoroughly. “The first part of digestion is chewing, and most people don’t chew enough,” says Goldberg. Your veggies should be the consistency of applesauce before you swallow ’em.

11. Chicken soup

Good news: Chicken soup is good for more than just the soul. In fact, the sodium in chicken soup can help replenish electrolytes, while the collagen protein in the stock (assuming it’s actual stock made from chicken bones) can help heal the gut lining, Goldberg says.

Slurp up: Cook up pieces of chicken and vegetables, like carrots and zucchini, in either homemade or store-bought chicken stock.

12. Bread

One of the reasons you crave carbs when you’re hungover: the simple, quick-digesting carbohydrates found in bread can help settle the stomach, says Goldberg.

Eat up: Though eating toast is pretty much an act of self-care for many of us, “toasting bread creates a spongy texture that can make it challenging to swallow,” Goldberg says. If you truly want to settle your stomach, opt for soft, un-toasted bread that doesn’t have a hard crusts or contain any nuts or seeds. And go easy on the butter or jam.

13. Oatmeal

Breakfast: oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, chia seeds and almonds

wmaster890 // Getty Images

Warm, comforting oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, according to Goldberg—so it’s another life-saver when food seems to go right through you.

Eat up: Keep your bowl simple and cook your oats in plain ol’ water. “You could also add a protein powder that you already know agrees with your body,” says Goldberg. Otherwise, avoid any funky add-ins.

14. Eggs

If you need an easy source of protein while riding the stomach struggle bus, go with eggs. “They contain all of the essential amino acids that get absorbed into our muscles,” says Goldberg. Plus, the yolks contain healthy fats that can also help fast-track healing.

Eat up: Goldberg recommends cooking your eggs in whatever way most appeals to you. Since your immune system may not be at it’s best, cook your yolks all the way through as an extra precaution.

Headshot of Marissa Miller

Marissa Miller has spent a decade editing and reporting on women’s health issues from an intersectional lens with a focus on peer-reviewed nutrition, fitness trends, mental health, skincare, reproductive rights and beyond, and currently holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell. She is an avid yoga practitioner, half-marathon runner, snowboarder, and former dance coach and choreographer. In addition to Women’s Health, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NBC News, GQ, Vogue, CNN Style, and more. Marissa lives in Montreal with her two cats. She is represented by Howland Literary and her debut novel PRETTY WEIRD will be published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2021.

What are the best foods for an upset stomach?

Most people will experience an upset stomach at some time in their life. There are many potential causes of an upset stomach.

Short-term, or acute, causes of an upset stomach include food poisoning and viral gastroenteritis. The symptoms of acute stomach upset typically involve nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Longer-term, or chronic, causes of stomach upset may include irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating.

Some foods can worsen symptoms of an upset stomach, while others can help alleviate them. Read on to find out what to eat and what to avoid when experiencing an upset stomach.

Below are some foods and liquids that could help to settle an upset stomach, or prevent further complications.


A woman makes tea which is a food or drink that can help for an upset stomach.

A person can lose a lot of fluids through diarrhea or vomiting. They will need to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

Doctors sometimes recommend short-term clear liquid diets to help settle an upset stomach.

Below are some fluids that can help replenish water and electrolytes without causing further upset to the stomach:

  • plain water
  • clear broths
  • diluted fruit juice or squash
  • popsicles made from frozen diluted fruit juice
  • electrolyte drinks
  • weak tea without milk
  • herbal teas
  • Jell-O

Drinking enough liquids is also essential for someone who has constipation. Fluids help to soften stools, allowing them to pass more easily through the bowels. This helps keep bowel movements regular.


A person ladles broth, which is a food for an upset stomach, into a bowl.

If a person is unable to eat or keep food down, they may be able to tolerate a simple vegetable or bone broth.

Bone broth contains the amino acid glutamine. A 2017 study notes that glutamine plays a role in maintaining the intestinal barrier (IB). The IB helps to protect the body from harmful pathogens and toxins. It also helps a person to absorb water and nutrients from their food.

According to an older review from 2009 , IB dysfunction is a major contributory factor to the following inflammatory diseases:


A photo of applesauce, which can be a food for helping symptoms of an upset stomach.

Apples contain antioxidants called polyphenols. According to a 2015 review, polyphenols may help alleviate inflammation associated with IBDs. According to the review, dietary polyphenols may help to:

  • regulate a person’s immune response, thereby controlling inflammation
  • protect the lining of the gut from damage
  • improve the gut microbiome, which is the term for the trillions of microorganisms that live inside the digestive tract

Stewed apples or applesauce are easier to digest than the whole fruit.


A person picks up bananas, which are a food for an upset stomach.

Bananas can help to replenish potassium and other electrolytes that a person may lose as a result of vomiting or diarrhea.

Bananas make up part of the “BRAT” diet, which some people recommend for an upset stomach with diarrhea. The acronym “BRAT” stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These bland foods are gentle on the stomach, so they might help prevent further stomach upset.


A photo of peeled ginger, which can be a food for helping an upset stomach.

Ginger can help combat feelings of nausea. A person can make ginger tea by slicing or grating fresh ginger and adding hot water. Sipping the mixture may help to settle an upset stomach.

Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that could help alleviate IBDs.

A 2019 study investigated the effects of daily ginger supplements on participants with ulcerative colitis, which is a form of IBD. Over 12 weeks, participants with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis received either 2 grams (g) of a ginger supplement per day or a placebo.

Participants who had taken the ginger supplements showed reduced disease activity and increased quality of life, compared with those who took the placebo.

However, the authors note that scientists need to conduct further clinical trials using different dosages and durations of ginger supplementation to confirm the findings.

Linseed for constipation

A person holds linseed, which is a food for an upset stomach.

People who have constipation can try taking linseed oil while increasing their fluid intake. This combination should encourage soft, bulky stools that help keep a person regular.

A person can try sprinkling linseed on their breakfast cereal or adding the seeds to a smoothie.

Try to drink plenty of water while taking linseed, otherwise, stools may become bulky and hard. This might make constipation worse.

Probiotic-rich foods

a bowl of kimchi which is a good food for upset stomachs

Probiotics offer health benefits for the digestive system and the immune system. People can take probiotic supplements or eat foods that are naturally rich in probiotics.

A person may want to consume probiotic foods if they have just finished a course of antibiotics, or as an add-on treatment for chronic digestive issues.

Probiotic-rich foods may not suit people who are experiencing an upset stomach with bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. However, after recovering from these issues, a person may want to consume probiotics to replenish their beneficial gut bacteria

Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • natural, unsweetened yogurt
  • kefir
  • sauerkraut
  • miso
  • tempeh
  • kombucha
  • kimchi