Brown Rice on an Upset Stomach

rice in cup on wooden background
Brown rice, although nutritious, can worsen upset stomach symptoms. (Image: funkybg/iStock/Getty Images)

The term upset stomach describes symptoms of gastroenteritis, or inflammation of your stomach or intestines. Typically caused by a virus, exposure to unfamiliar bacteria, contaminated food or certain medications, gastroenteritis symptoms can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss and a weak, "blah," sensation. Depending on your overall condition, brown rice may or may not suit your diet when you have symptoms.Seek specified guidance about particular foods from your doctor or dietitian.

Risks

Eating solid foods of any kind can worsen gastroenteritis symptoms by increasing activity in your digestive tract. For this reason, University Health Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recommends a clear liquid diet for the first 24 to 36 hours. Once you're able to tolerate solid foods, avoid foods that can cause irritation or worsen inflammation, including brown rice and other whole grains and fiber-rich foods.

Benefits

When you have acute gastritis -- inflammation of your stomach lining -- upset stomach symptoms appear suddenly. Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, occurs gradually and may present itself in occasional bouts of symptom flareups. In chronic cases, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a fiber-rich diet for reduced irritation and protection from stomach ulcers -- a potential gastritis complication. One cup of cooked brown rice provides 3.5 g of fiber. Eating foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains, and limiting refined foods can also minimize gastritis symptoms. An appropriate diet for stomach upset, whether acute or chronic, emphasizes carbohydrates because they digest more easily than protein and fat. Brown rice is a rich carbohydrate source.

Rice Suggestions

If you are experiencing diarrhea, or your doctor has suggested a low-fiber diet for other reasons, avoid brown rice and other whole grains until your symptoms subside. Once diarrhea and vomiting are under control for 36 hours from a clear-liquid, University Health Services at the UMW suggest sticking to bland foods, such as plain white rice, soda crackers, broiled fish and boiled potatoes. If you tolerate solid, fiber-rich foods well, or you have an ulcer, incorporate brown rice and other whole grains, such as oats, barley and popcorn, into a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods to Avoid

Other foods that can worsen an upset stomach include fatty and greasy foods, such as red and processed meats, butter, pizza and fried foods, dairy products and spicy foods, such as hot peppers, chili and miso paste. Beverages that can irritate your stomach lining or increase stomach acid production, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, include alcohol, carbonated beverages and coffee, with or without caffeine.

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