What to Eat When You’ve Got an Upset Stomach

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Treat your gut right, or it’ll make you pay.

Whether due to mild food poisoning, lactose intolerance, or other, unrelated reasons, we all get diarrhea sometimes. Yeah, I said diarrhea, let’s get the giggling out of the way. The idea of bad diarrhea is, admittedly, pretty funny, but actually going through it tends to be anything but. It can be an exhausting, painful, and mildly embarrassing experience, so you’ll want to try and get through it as quickly and properly as possible. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, you can make it easier on yourself by eating the right foods.

The first thing you want is a steady supply of electrolytes. When you have diarrhea, you’re passing a lot of your body’s water content, and your electrolytes are going with it. This is why bad diarrhea can leave you severely dehydrated. You’ll want some water handy, of course, but in addition to hydration, you need to replenish things like sodium and potassium. Sports drinks like Gatorade are a common choice, and they’re not a terrible idea, but they are high in sugar, which can make diarrhea worse for some. Instead, try coconut water. It’s naturally sugar-free and high in vital minerals.

For food, you need something simple and low in fiber. While fiber is usually a good thing, more of it while you’re suffering from diarrhea can make your trips to the toilet more frequent and prolonged, which you don’t want right now. As far as easily digestible foods go, your best options are things like white rice, banana for some extra potassium, and organic applesauce. Clear broth, soup, and other liquid meals are also a good choice, as long as they’re not too chunky.

The stuff you absolutely don’t want to eat are highly processed and spicy foods. Food that’s high in fat and sugar like pastries will cause your body to pull in more water, which in turn will make your diarrhea heavier. As for spicy foods, aside from the fact that they can irritate your likely already sensitive digestive track, they can cause your diarrhea to take on extremely painful, burning properties. Seriously, your butt will feel like the surface of the sun.

As long as you watch what you eat for the day and keep up your nutrients, you should get through this soon enough. Just make sure you’ve got a lot of toilet paper handy.