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What should you eat after having a stomach virus?

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are just recovering from a stomach virus, one that had you up all night with vomiting, stomach cramps and nausea, then the last thing you probably want to do is eat. But over the course of your illness, you've become dehydrated and your electrolytes are low. Your body needs sustenance to recover. With this in mind, here are a few foods you can eat that are gentle on your stomach.

Liquids

The first thing that you should do is replace the liquids that your body lost during your illness. Start slowly, taking a few sips of water at a time. If you can keep this down, you can attempt small amounts of Gatorade, flat ginger ale, clear broth or a mixture of half water and half grape juice. Don't try to drink more than half a cup at once. Avoid sugary drinks or drinks that are high in acid content such as orange juice.

The BRAT Diet

If you have managed to keep liquids down for 24 hours, it is probably safe to move on to solid foods. When recovering from a stomach virus, keeping your foods simple is the key. Doctors often recommend something called the BRAT diet for recovering from a stomach virus: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. These are the easiest foods for your stomach to digest. Try to avoid citrus foods, greasy and spicy foods, dairy and tomato products, alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks.

Bland Foods

If you grow tired of the BRAT diet and want to add variety back into your meals, remember to stick with bland food items. Plain chicken breast, saltine crackers, plain pasta, a small helping of fruit, gelatin or eggs are good choices. Although you may be tempted to eat yoghurt for its probiotics, you should avoid this. Yoghurt is a dairy product, which can be hard on your stomach. Also avoid fibrous foods such as vegetables, coarse grains and meat. These foods can be difficult to digest. Foods such as this may be incorporated back into your diet several days or so after the signs of illness have passed.

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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.