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Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis

author image Julie Hampton
Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis
Avoid milk and other dairy products when suffering from gastroenteritis. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Gastroenteritis, also known as an upset stomach, is a common ailment. According to McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, gastroenteritis is the second most occurring health condition, next to the common cold. A bland diet is the best way to go when an upset stomach hits, and you should avoid certain foods until your symptoms disappear; usually three to four days later. Symptoms include stomach aches and pain, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, general weakness and fatigue.

No Food, at First

Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis
Suck on ice chips or ice pops to keep your mouth moist. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Avoid all foods when suffering from initial symptoms of an upset stomach if you are vomiting, advises FamilyDoctor.org. Do not eat until you have stopped vomiting for a minimum of six hours. Suck on ice chips or ice pops to keep your mouth moist and to help with hydration. Don't give ice chips to small children, due to risk of choking. If you have a small child, ice pops are a better than ice chips. After vomiting has ceased for six hours or more, you may slowly start taking small sips of water, flat water or sports drinks.


Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis
Avoid dairy foods like milk and yogurt. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Avoid dairy foods when you are suffering from an upset stomach. Theses include milk, ice cream, cheese and yogurt. Drinking clears soups is OK, but avoid creamy soups containing cream or milk. Slowly add dairy milk back into your diet after most of your gastroenteritis symptoms subside. Dairy often increases diarrhea and loose stools.

Spicy Foods

Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis
Try not to eat heavily seasoned, salted, or spicy foods. Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

Once you can eat solid food, usually 24 hours after vomiting subsides, only eat bland foods. Do not eat heavily salted, spiced or seasoned foods. Your stomach may not be able to handle the spices and symptoms may return. Choose skinless chicken, rice, bananas, applesauce and toast. Plain baked potatoes minus the butter and sour cream are a good choice.

Caffeine and Alcohol

Foods to Avoid If You Have Gastroenteritis
Caffeine found in coffee can increase dehydration and worsen your condition. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Do not drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol for several days. You may be suffering from dehydration after a bout of gastroenteritis, and drinking these beverages worsens the condition. Remember, even decaffeinated teas and coffees contains small amounts of caffeine. Foods containing caffeine include coffee-flavored ice cream and both milk and dark chocolate. Some medications also contain caffeine. According to the University of Michigan, two tablets of Excedrin Extra-Strength contain about 130mg of caffeine. This is about the same amount in one cup of coffee.

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