Everyone feels nauseous on occasion. Although eating while nauseous may be challenging, having bland foods can help you maintain your energy levels while you recover from any underlying cause, but without worsening your symptoms. Common causes of nausea include migraines, anesthesia, motion sickness, pregnancy and stomach flu. Gallstones, depression and heart problems could also contribute to your malaise. If your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, seek guidance from your doctor. Otherwise, eat small, frequent amounts of bland foods until nausea dissipates and your appetite returns.
Potatoes are a bland, easy-to-digest food and a rich source of carbohydrates -- your body's main energy source. Peel potatoes before cooking them or prepare potatoes from instant potato flakes for less fiber and flavor. Season your mashed potatoes with a little bit of salt, and avoid fatty toppings, such as butter. The University of California San Francisco Medical Center recommends avoiding fatty foods and salty fare, particularly if you have been vomiting or have diarrhea.
Broth and Broth-Based Soups
Chicken soup and broth are particularly suitable for women experiencing nausea. Broth provides valuable amounts of salt and fluid, both of which can help replenish deficiencies associated with vomiting and diarrhea. Noodles in soups provide energizing carbohydrates. Vegetables, such as carrots and leafy greens, supply antioxidants, which support your body's ability to heal from infections. Chicken provides protein, which promotes physical strength and tissue repair. If the thought of eating solid foods seems daunting, sip broth or soup throughout the day. Avoid creamy and cheesy soups, which can worsen stomach flu symptoms.
Eat soda crackers, which are low in fiber. Fiber is a food component that could worsen diarrhea and stomach pain. Crackers are also suitable if your stomach has been feeling queasy, because they have a mild taste. To reduce nausea during the night, keep tolerable foods at your bedside. A tube or box of soda crackers is a convenient option. Unlike fruits, vegetables and soups, crackers are not hydrating, so drink water to prevent dehydration.
Toast is also bland and carbohydrate-rich. If you're experiencing stomach upset, avoid high-fiber breads, such as whole grain, which can worsen symptoms. White bread and enriched wheat breads have a milder taste and tend to contain less fiber. Because sugary and fatty foods might make nausea worse, do not add butter, peanut butter, jelly or jam. Plain toast or toast with a light spritz of olive oil spray is a better option.
Rice is the only starchy food that does not stimulate gas during digestion, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. White rice is bland-tasting and easy to digest during nausea. If you've lost fluids due to diarrhea or vomiting, season rice with salt to keep your sodium levels in check.
Fruits provide antioxidants that support strong immune function. Bananas are the one bland fruit the Mayo Clinic recommends during bouts of stomach flu. In addition to antioxidants, bananas provide valuable amounts of carbohydrates and potassium -- a mineral that the body loses through perspiration, vomiting and diarrhea.
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer, podcast host and author of “Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment” (Amberjack Publishing, 2018). Her articles appear in DAME Magazine, Cosmopolitan.com, the Huffington Post and more, and she loves connecting with readers through her blog and social media. augustmclaughlin.com