Gastroenteritis & Soup

woman recovering from illness eating chicken soup in bed
A young woman eating chicken noodle soup on her bed. (Image: rez-art/iStock/Getty Images)

Gastroenteritis is a type of virus that causes gastrointestinal distress. It is sometimes referred to as the stomach flu because it causes stomach pain and discomfort. Gastroenteritis is often short-lived but recovery can take several days. Finding a good source of nutrition that is also easy on your stomach is essential to recovery. Soup provides a good nutrition base and can help you recover swiftly.

Gastroenteritis

Symptoms of gastroenteritis often appear abruptly and include severe diarrhea that is gassy and watery, moderate to severe abdominal cramping, stomach pains, fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, severe nausea and vomiting. You may also be very tired and weak, experiencing general malaise. Overall, gastroenteritis lasts 1 to 10 days, according to MedlinePlus. Because you may have a poor appetite, bland foods such as saltine crackers or broth-based soups can provide nutrition until you are able to eat solid or fibrous foods.

Soup

If you are able to hold food down, soup offers more than just a filling meal, it provides a good source of nutrition to help aid in your healing process. Soup contains trace amounts of fats, so it adds nutrition without going overboard on your total fat content. One-half cup of chicken noodle soup contains about 60 calories with 8 grams of total carbs per serving – this helps aid in restoring energy levels. Chicken noodle soup also contains 50 milligrams of potassium that can help replenish potassium levels lost through vomiting and watery diarrhea.

Solution

Soup should only be eaten when your stomach is settled and you feel vomiting has subsided. Try to avoid soups that are spicy, tomato-based and contain beef or meat, otherwise they could lead to stomach upset. Along with soup you should also drink plenty of fluids such as water and electrolyte replacement drinks. With gastroenteritis, you may become dehydrated easily, explains the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Supplementing soup or broth for your regular meals can help keep you hydrated and recover as quickly as possible.

Precaution

Soups such as chicken noodle may contain up to 25 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A helps fight off viruses and may help target your gastroenteritis. Vitamin C boosts immunity, helping you fight off illness and recover as soon as possible, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you notice that you are not feeling better after 48 hours and you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, excessive vomiting or bloody diarrhea, seek emergency care at once.

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