Upset Stomach? 13 Foods to Eat and 6 to Avoid

  • Medical Reviewer: Mahammad Juber, MD
Medically Reviewed on 9/28/2022

Food and drink that can help you feel better

Many conditions can cause an upset stomach. Foods that help an upset stomach include ginger, rice, bananas, and applesauce while foods to avoid include dairy, fried foods, and spicy foods.
Many conditions can cause an upset stomach. Foods that help an upset stomach include ginger, rice, bananas, and applesauce while foods to avoid include dairy, fried foods, and spicy foods.

Many conditions can cause an upset stomach. You might have symptoms like gas, bloating, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, or heartburn. Whether your upset stomach is caused by a virus, inflammatory bowel disease, or any other cause, though, some foods can help, and there are some you should avoid. 

Here are some types of food and drink that can help you feel better:

1. Ginger

Ginger can help with nausea and vomiting from any cause. Studies have shown ginger helps people who are undergoing chemotherapy and women who have morning sickness. A hot cup of ginger tea can help if your upset stomach includes nausea or vomiting. 

2. Bananas

Bananas are known to help relieve stomach pain. Bananas are high in potassium, which increases mucus production in your stomach. This helps prevent irritation of your stomach lining. They also have a natural antacid effect that can help relieve your stomachache and indigestion.

3. Rice

White rice is a bland food that's easy to digest. When your stomach is upset, foods that are easy to digest are a good choice. As a refined carbohydrate, white rice is low in fiber, which can help with symptoms of diarrhea. Avoid brown rice, which is higher in fiber and can make your upset stomach worse.

4. Applesauce

Semi-solid foods such as applesauce are easy on your stomach when you aren't feeling well. It may not help with nausea, but it's a good way to get some nutrients in your system when you aren't feeling well. 

5. Toast

Toast is another refined carbohydrate that's easy on your digestive system

Doctors often recommend a BRAT diet for people who have a stomach virus. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. 

6. Chamomile 

Chamomile tea has been used for years as an herbal remedy for an upset stomach. A study of chamomile found that it was effective at relieving nausea and vomiting in women who were undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint oil has been used to treat stomach problems for centuries. Peppermint oil has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. It also has anesthetic properties. Peppermint can help relax painful contractions and ease a stomachache. A study of people with irritable bowel syndrome showed that peppermint activates pain relief in the colon. 

8. Sports Drinks

If your upset stomach includes vomiting and diarrhea, you may be at risk of becoming dehydrated. Sipping a sports drink with electrolytes can help prevent dehydration, though. 

9. Yogurt

Yogurt is high in probiotics, which are bacteria that are beneficial to gut health. Eating yogurt with live, active bacterial cultures has been shown to help with both constipation and diarrhea.  

10. Soup

Semi-solid foods like soup can be easier to keep down when you're feeling queasy. They can also replace essential minerals that you can otherwise lose through vomiting and diarrhea, such as potassium, calcium, and sodium. 

11. Bland Chicken

If your upset stomach is from irritable bowel syndrome, low-FODMAP foods may help your symptoms. FODMAP foods are fermentable, short-chain carbohydrates and can be difficult for some people to digest. Boiled or baked chicken is a low-FODMAP food that can be easier for people with irritable bowel syndrome to handle.

12. Eggs

Like chicken, eggs are a low-FODMAP food and generally won't trigger symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome.

13. Coconut Water

Coconut water is a good alternative to sports drinks. It can help rehydrate you after vomiting or diarrhea and is easy to tolerate with an upset stomach.

6 foods to avoid when you have an upset stomach

Some foods and drinks, on the other hand, are hard to digest and can make your upset stomach worse or even cause stomach irritation. 

Caffeinated soda

Carbonation and soda can make acid reflux symptoms worse. Caffeine can also exacerbate diarrhea. 

Some dairy foods

Although yogurt can help an upset stomach, some types of dairy can be hard to digest. Milk, cream, and cheese are high in fat and should be avoided when your stomach is bothering you. 

Fried foods

Like dairy foods, fried foods are high in saturated fats, so they take longer to break down in your stomach. Because they're harder to digest, they can aggravate your upset stomach. 

Spicy foods

Spicy foods can cause stomach pain in people with indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome. A study found that people who eat spicy foods 10 times weekly were 92% more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome than people who didn't eat any spicy foods. 

Raw fruits and vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which is one of their many health benefits. However, their fiber content can worsen diarrhea symptoms, so you should avoid them while you're having stomach troubles. 


Alcohol irritates your stomach and can cause alcoholic gastritis. Drinking regularly can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, stomachache, indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, and hiccups

Avoid alcohol when your stomach is upset. If you notice such symptoms when you drink alcohol, you may need to limit or stop your alcohol use.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 9/28/2022

Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam: "Effect of the ingestion of a symbiotic yogurt on the bowel habits of women with functional constipation."

Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: "Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer."

Cleveland Clinic: "Low FODMAP Diet," "When Should You Follow the BRAT Diet?"

Medanta: "Foods to Eat and Avoid When You Have an Upset Stomach."

Nebraska Medicine: "What to eat with an upset stomach (plus 6 things to avoid)," "You asked, we answered: How can I stop stomach aches from alcohol gastritis?"

The University of Chicago School of Medicine: "A hot topic: Are spicy foods healthy or dangerous?"