The stomach flu which is called gastroenteritis, is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or from a condition such as lactose intolerance. The stomach flu can cause many symptoms including abdominal cramps, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache and swollen lymph glands. Avoiding dehydration and resting are part of the treatment plan along with a diet that does not irritate the stomach. There are certain foods to avoid with the stomach flu; however, it is best to consult a physician first to obtain an accurate diagnosis and to form the proper treatment approach.
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Caffeine and Alcohol
Dehydration can be a complication of the stomach flu due to fluid loss from diarrhea and vomiting. It is important to drink plenty of water and clear liquids to help prevent complications. MayoClinic.com also recommends avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as both can increase the need to urinate which can contribute to becoming dehydrated. Non caffeinated sports drinks and sodas can also be consumed and it is best to sip them slowly throughout the day.
To help recover from the stomach flu it is important to allow the intestines to rest. For some patients, this means going a few hours without any food or liquids when symptoms first appear, states the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
When food is reintroduced it is best to avoid dairy products which can contribute to diarrhea. Start by consuming broths and bland foods that are easy to digest.
Fatty and Acidic Foods
Fatty or fried foods and those that are citrus based may irritate the stomach and intestines and should be avoided until symptoms subside, warns the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. Highly fried foods may also contain strong seasonings which can upset the stomach.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines, limes, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons may need to be avoided for one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. Bananas which are rich in potassium are a better choice to help replace the potassium lost due to diarrhea.
High Fiber Foods
A high fiber diet is healthy for the intestines as it encourages regular bowel movements. However, it is not easily digested by the body and can make stomach flu symptoms worse. For this reason the San Francisco University website, recommends avoiding whole grain foods such as pasta, cereals, breads, crackers, brown rice and foods that are multigrain which contain seeds and nuts.