If you are experiencing nausea, one of the last things you may feel like doing is eating or even thinking about food. However, your body needs adequate nutrition to recover from your illness. Learning which foods to eat when nauseous, and which foods to avoid, can help manage symptoms of queasiness and vomiting so you feel better.
What Causes Nausea?
A variety of conditions exist that can cause or contribute to nausea, according to MedlinePlus. In addition to simply eating something that doesn't agree with you, these conditions include:
- A virus such as the flu
- Bacterial infection causing digestive discomfort
- Morning sickness from pregnancy
- Anxiety, worry or stress
- Certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy
- A reaction to medication
- Hangover from overconsumption of alcohol
Best Foods for Nausea
To reduce queasiness, food for nausea and vomiting should consist of low-fat and bland foods that are low in fiber. You may have heard of the BRAT diet for nausea, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are low fat, have a bland flavor and are likely to be well tolerated if you have a digestive upset.
- Cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables (exclude ones that could make you gassy, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber and corn)
- Fruit juices and vegetable juices
- Breads, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour
- Refined (low fiber), hot cereals, such as Cream of Wheat
- Lean meats, such as poultry, whitefish and shellfish that are steamed, baked or grilled
- Pudding and custard
- Soup, especially broth
- Weak herbal tea
Spicy foods and those greasy or high in fat may irritate your stomach and exacerbate symptoms of nausea. Avoid processed or fried foods and foods that contain a lot of salt or sugar, such as pastries, doughnuts and dried fruit.
Hydration Is Important
Vomiting and diarrhea can make you dehydrated, which is dangerous for your body. Consume 8 to 10 glasses of fluid each day — water is best. You can include other beverages, such as herbal tea, clear fruit juice, flat soda and sports drinks, which can help replace minerals and other nutrients lost when you throw up
Eating food that contains water will help you hydrate; foods such as clear soups, ice pops and jello. Try to drink beverages 30 to 60 minutes before and after eating, instead of with meals. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Read more: How Can I Tell When My Body Is Hydrated?
Other Tips to Relieve Nausea
A few other tricks may help with queasiness. For example, if you have thrown up and have an undesirable taste in your mouth, consider brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth with a solution of baking soda, salt and warm water before you eat. Stay away from strong food odors in the kitchen, since those odors can lead to more nausea.
Ginger to treat nausea is a long-time remedy and used widely in history for its many natural medicinal and antiemetic properties. Available evidence demonstrates that ginger is an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting and is safe, according to a study published in Integrative Medical Insights in 2016.
Take your time when eating and avoid lying down immediately afterward. Eating your favorite foods when you are nauseous could make it difficult for you to tolerate them in the future. Do something that helps distract you from nausea, such as playing on the computer or watching television.
When to Call Your Doctor
If your nausea and vomiting continue for more than 48 hours, or if you cannot keep food and beverages down, or have a fever, stomach pain or weakness, contact your health-care provider.
Read more: Foods to Eat to Stop Diarrhea