Stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is usually caused by any virus that may attack the gastrointestinal system. It can also be caused by bacteria through contaminated water and food. “Stomach flu can wreak havoc on the system. Remember, our overall health is closely interlinked with our digestive health. Hence, stomach flu can have a deep impact on physical, mental, and emotional health,” said nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla.
Stomach flu symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, and abdominal pain.
Here are foods that one should have and avoid when down with stomach flu:
*Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is imperative to make up for the fluid loss due to diarrhea and vomiting. Fluids include plain water, infused water with herbs, electoral water, coconut water, broth, herbal tea with ginger, and peppermint. In fact, the smell of peppermint tea may help reduce nausea as well.
*Indulge in low fibre bland foods with no spices or excess oil. One can experiment with khichdi made with white rice and moong dal. It’s easy on the stomach and has good protein content.
*Have eggs as they are easy on the stomach and rich in protein, making them a great snack. Eggs are also a good source of B vitamins and selenium, which are important nutrients for the immune system.
*Lean meat is better tolerated than high-fat meats. Hence one can opt for chicken but stop having it if it does not suit the stomach.
*Can try soups without any mixers such as cornstarch or cream. One can rather try arrowroot. Broth-based soups are also great as they provide plenty of fluids with electrolytes.
*Fried food items which are difficult to digest. They can aggravate stomach flu symptoms.
*Spicy foods as these may trigger nausea and vomiting.
*High sugar foods and fruit juices which may worsen diarrhea.
*Caffeinated drinks can interfere with sleep. Caffeine can also compromise digestion and increase bloating.
*Raw foods can be difficult to digest.
Some home remedies for stomach flu include enough rest. One can also use acupressure/acupuncture points and a heating pad/warm hot bag on the stomach to ease cramping.
Some food ideas that can be incorporated:
Breakfast: rice flour chilla with eggs
Lunch: moong dal khichdi with white rice and broth-based soup
Evening meal: Fruit/mashed potatoes
Dinner: soup and khichdi or egg rice
Ensure a good amount of fluid to replenish water loss and help the body heal.
“Following a good gut health protocol is the best way to avoid stomach flu. Indulge in anti-inflammatory whole foods, colourful nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, medicinal herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic. foods such as bone broth, high-quality fat such as coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, and protein such as eggs, lean meat, dals and pulses. Crowd out processed foods, refined flour, and sugar,” said Chawla.