An upset stomach is very common and can be caused by a variety of factors like food poisoning, stomach flu, anxiety, acid reflux, and more. While there are medications that can help like antacids, sometimes a nice warm bowl of soup can be just as soothing for an upset stomach. The key is choosing the right ingredients that will be easy on your digestive system.
What are some good soups for an upset stomach?
Some of the best soups for an upset stomach include:
- Chicken noodle soup – This classic soup is easy on the stomach with the protein from the chicken and noodles. Make sure to use a low-sodium broth.
- Vegetable soup – Opt for cooked, soft vegetables like carrots, peas, and potatoes that are gentle. Avoid raw veggies.
- Clear broth soups – A simple broth from chicken, beef, or vegetables lets your stomach rest.
- Ginger tea – Ginger can help relieve nausea and calm the stomach. Simmer fresh ginger in water and sip slowly.
- Mint tea – Peppermint or spearmint tea can reduce inflammation in the stomach and ease digestive distress.
Why are these good for an upset stomach?
There are a few reasons why these soups can help calm an upset stomach:
- Hydration – Liquids help prevent dehydration which can make nausea and diarrhea worse. The broth provides electrolytes and fluids that your body needs.
- Easy to digest – These soups contain soft, well-cooked ingredients that are gentle on your stomach when it is sensitive.
- Provides nutrients – The ingredients like chicken, vegetables, broth give you nutrients and energy when you may not feel like eating.
- Warm temperature – The warmth can have a soothing effect on the stomach and relieve cramping or pain.
What ingredients should you avoid?
When your stomach is upset, there are certain foods you’ll want to avoid as they may make symptoms worse. These include:
- Raw vegetables – The fiber can irritate your GI tract. Cook vegetables to soften them.
- Spicy foods – Ingredients like chili peppers, curry, or black pepper can further inflame the stomach lining.
- Caffeine – Coffee, tea, soda with caffeine can stimulate the intestines and lead to more diarrhea.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can further irritate the stomach and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- High fat foods – Greasy and fried foods take longer to digest and can cause discomfort.
- Gas-producing foods – Foods that cause gas like beans, broccoli, onions can put pressure on your stomach.
Stick to gentle, low-fiber foods cooked down until soft and easy to digest. Go easy on seasoning as well.
What about probiotics?
Probiotics can be very helpful when you have an upset stomach. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help balance gut bacteria to support digestive health. They can be found in:
- Yogurt – Look for yogurt with active cultures listed.
- Fermented foods – Like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir
- Supplements – Probiotic capsules and powders provide concentrated doses.
Research shows probiotics can help treat diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other stomach issues by restoring the natural gut flora. Aim for 1-2 servings of probiotic-rich foods per day when your stomach feels unsettled.
What foods are easy on an upset stomach?
Here is a list of foods that tend to be gentle on an upset stomach that you can try incorporating into your diet:
|Foods to Eat
|Foods to Avoid
|Oatmeal, rice, plain toast
|Whole grains high in fiber like bran, granola
|Fruits & Veggies
|Cooked carrots, spinach, peeled apple
|Raw produce, gas-producing cruciferous veggies
|Eggs, chicken, fish, tofu
|High-fat red meat, processed meats (bacon, sausage)
|Low-fat milk, plain yogurt, kefir
|High-fat cheese, ice cream, cow’s milk
Focus on smooth, low-fiber foods that slide through the digestive tract easily without irritating it further. Limit excess fat, spices, and gas-producing ingredients.
Sample menu for an upset stomach
Here is a sample daily menu with recipes that can help soothe an upset stomach:
- 1 cup oatmeal cooked with almond milk, 1 banana sliced, cinnamon
- 2 scrambled eggs, 1 slice toast with jam
- Chicken noodle soup (homemade or canned)
- Probiotic yogurt with blueberries
- Baked salmon, 1/2 cup cooked carrots, 1/2 cup cooked rice
- Vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots, spinach
- 1 apple sliced with almond butter
- Coconut water ice pops
- Peppermint tea
Stick to this type of simple, mild diet until your stomach symptoms resolve. Then slowly reintroduce other foods.
Lifestyle tips for upset stomach
In addition to diet, there are a few lifestyle measures that can help calm an upset stomach:
- Rest – Get plenty of rest and sleep to allow your body time to heal.
- Hydrate – Sip water, broth, herbal tea, or diluted fruit juice to stay hydrated.
- Peppermint – Smell peppermint oil or suck on mints to reduce nausea.
- Ginger – Drink ginger tea or chew on ginger candy for anti-nausea effects.
- Probiotics – Eat probiotic foods daily to support gut health.
- Sit upright – Don’t lie flat after eating. Stay upright for better digestion.
Relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, gentle yoga, or listening to calming music can also help soothe your mind and body when you’re not feeling well.
When to see a doctor for an upset stomach
In most cases, you can manage an upset stomach at home with rest, diet changes, and over-the-counter treatments. But contact your doctor if you experience:
- Symptoms lasting more than 2 days
- Bloody or black stool
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe pain or tenderness in the abdomen
- A fever over 101 F
- Signs of dehydration – dizziness, excessive thirst, dark urine
Seeking medical care is crucial if your symptoms are severe or persist beyond 48 hours to rule out serious conditions.
These over-the-counter medications can help provide symptomatic relief for an upset stomach when used occasionally:
- Antacids – Help neutralize stomach acid and relieve indigestion, heartburn. Brands like Tums, Rolaids, Maalox.
- Anti-diarrheals – Slow down intestinal contractions to curb diarrhea. Imodium A-D is commonly used.
- Simethicone – Decreases gas production and bloating. Gas-X contains simethicone.
- Dramamine – Uses dimenhydrinate to reduce nausea and motion sickness.
- Pepto-Bismol – Contains bismuth subsalicylate to coat the stomach and ease nausea, heartburn, diarrhea.
Always follow dosage instructions carefully when taking over-the-counter meds for an upset stomach. Seek advice from your pharmacist about which ones are most suitable for your symptoms.
How long does an upset stomach last?
The duration of an upset stomach can vary depending on the cause:
- Food poisoning – Can last from a few hours up to 3 days as the toxins work through your system.
- Stomach flu – Usually lasts 1-3 days but up to a week in severe cases.
- Stomach ulcer – Ulcers produce longer-lasting symptoms until treated.
- Gastritis – Acute gastritis can last from a few days up to a couple weeks.
- IBS – Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome tend to flare up and subside intermittently.
- Anxiety – Stomach upset from anxiety improves once stress is reduced.
If an upset stomach lasts longer than 2 days or your symptoms are severe, see your doctor to diagnose the underlying cause.
Can an upset stomach make you tired and weak?
Yes, it’s common to feel tired and weak when you have an upset stomach. There are several reasons for this:
- Dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea or poor intake can leave you fatigued.
- Lack of nutrients when eating less can cause exhaustion.
- Digestive distress can impair sleep quality leading to tiredness.
- Your body is using up energy fighting viruses, infections or inflammation.
- Irritable bowel diseases like Crohn’s can manifest fatigue symptoms.
Make sure to get plenty of rest and drink fluids when possible. Seek medical attention for persistent fatigue along with stomach symptoms.
What color should stomach fluid be?
The color of your vomit or stool provides clues as to what is going on in your digestive system. Here is a breakdown:
|What It May Indicate
|Normal for stomach bile/acid. Can indicate hunger vomiting.
|Gastric bile mixing with food contents.
|Partially digested blood resembling coffee grounds.
|Bleeding in the lower GI tract like the large intestine.
|Bleeding in the upper GI tract like an ulcer.
|Infection, inflammation in the intestines or pancreas.
Seek immediate medical help if you vomit blood or black material resembling coffee grounds as this signifies bleeding.
An upset stomach is very common but luckily some simple home remedies like sipping herbal tea, eating gentle foods like soup or applesauce, and taking OTC meds can provide relief in mild cases. Try to identify and avoid any triggers in your diet while staying hydrated. Seek medical advice if symptoms last more than 2 days or are accompanied by severe pain, bleeding, fever or dehydration. With some rest and TLC, your upset stomach should be back to normal in no time.