We can only expect two things from life, according to Benjamin Franklin: death and taxes. Actually, there’s a third item on the list that the Founding Fathers forgot to include: stomach problems. (I’m sorry, Ben, but you already know the truth.) These types of things may happen to the best of us, whether it’s an unsettled stomach or worse, food poisoning, and they’re never fun. Although there are many things you can do to help your digestion, like Ayurvedic breathing exercises, abdominal massages, and even analysing your faeces, sticking to easy to digest foods is one of the best things you can do when this happens.
According to Anabelle Harari Clebaner, RD, creator of Wellspring Nutrition, these meals offer your GI tract and intestines a rest by reducing the amount of effort required to break down food when it’s already inflamed. It’s similar to taking a sick day for your digestive system—you need to give your stomach a break in order for it to repair.
When dealing with digestive issues or symptoms, Brittany Modell, RD, creator of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness, recommends choosing creamy textured meals that are lean, low in fibre, and low in fat as a general guideline.
Symptoms and diseases that may accompany digestive problems:
- Reflux of acid
- Pain in the abdomen
However, if your symptoms don’t improve after a few days, you’ll probably need more support than a brief diet adjustment. “Gastrointestinal diseases are intricate,” adds Modell. “When it comes to the healthiest meals to consume and digest, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.” Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive tract inflammation, and gastroparesis (when the stomach can’t properly empty itself of digested food) are examples of chronic gut disorders. You’ll also note that many simple-to-digest meals aren’t especially nutrient-dense (ahem, white bread).As a result, eating this way as a long-term solution to gastrointestinal problems may not only delay the onset of a larger problem, but it may also result in nutritional gaps.
That’s why, as with many illnesses, Tony Castillo, RDN, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, recommends consulting with your doctor or RD to confirm that consuming easy-to-digest meals on a regular basis is the best course of action for you.
If you’re recovering from a stomach virus or similar transient but unpleasant stomach condition, though, adding some easy-to-digest meals to your rehabilitation plan may be beneficial. When you’re feeling under the weather, here’s what you should eat.
Continue reading for a list of 12 nutritious, easy to digest foods
1. Foods with low fibre content
When it comes to gut health and overall health, fibre is typically a positive thing. High-fiber meals, on the other hand, may not be the greatest choice for someone with gastrointestinal difficulties. “Fiber is difficult to digest, which might be a concern for people who have sluggish motility,” adds Modell. “Those who suffer from GI difficulties may benefit from a low-fiber diet with easy-to-digest meals to aid with symptom management.” White rice and white pasta, potatoes, and low-fiber fruits like grapefruit are all examples of low-fiber meals.
2. Cooked vegetables
Also, don’t be scared to grab for your favourite vegetables. “Vegetables are high in fibre,” adds Castillo. “When they’re cooked, though, the heat breaks down the fibre a little, making it simpler for the body to digest. Vegetables are beneficial to the diet because they include vitamins and minerals that help the body fight inflammation.” Clebaner suggests consuming spinach, pumpkin, or carrots in particular.
3. Bananas that are really ripe
Bananas are nutrient-dense, regardless of when you consume them (green, yellow, spotted brown). Stick to very ripe bananas if you’re suffering stomach troubles and need something that your intestines can easily absorb. “They supply carbs, potassium, and other essential vitamins and minerals to the body,” explains Modell. “The simpler a banana is to digest, the riper it is.”
4. Whole wheat bread
There’s good news for bread eaters. It’s fine to consume it if your stomach is upset, but be sure it’s white. “White bread has a lot less fibre than whole grains,” adds Modell. “Many refined grains are fortified with vitamins and minerals, so you receive the nutrition without the fibre.” White bread, on the other hand, is not something that Modell would advocate on a daily basis, considering that there are healthier bread choices available. However, she believes it may be useful for people suffering from GI problems in the short term.
5. Proteins of high grade
Due to their low fibre level, “tender cuts of steak, chicken, and fish tend to be simple to digest,” Castillo adds. (There’s a reason it’s one of the few advantages of the carnivorous diet.) However, there is one caveat: don’t go crazy with the protein, either. “When you eat too much food in one sitting, it might affect your capacity to digest rapidly,” explains Modell. To minimise stomach problems, those with gastroparesis, also known as delayed stomach emptying, should adhere to soft, low-fat proteins, according to Modell. Incorporate eggs, fish, shellfish, tofu, and low-fat dairy into your shopping list. There are several plant-based proteins that are beneficial for digestion, such as mung beans, nut butters, and chickpeas, if you’re vegan.
6. rice (white)
Although white rice isn’t as nutrient-dense as whole grains like brown rice and farro, it’s an excellent choice when you need something light. “One cup cooked rice has just 0.5 grammes of fibre, making it simpler to digest,” adds Modell. For a dinner that won’t upset your stomach, serve it with a side of sautéed vegetables and a high-quality protein.
7. Broth and soup
If you eat mostly easy-to-digest meals, you’re probably getting a lot of refined carbohydrates. As a result, Clebaner recommends including nutrient-dense meals like homemade bone broth. “It’s high in amino acids, electrolytes, and collagen, and it’s very calming for upset stomachs,” she explains. Vegan broth that is good for your gut is also a good option.
8. Greek yoghurt (non-fat)
Modell generally advises 2 percent or full-fat Greek yoghurt, but non-fat is a preferable option for individuals with digestive difficulties because it is gentler on the stomach. (Fat digestion is a little more difficult than other macronutrient digestion.) It also receives additional points for including probiotics, which aid in the long-term promotion of digestive health.
9. Oatmeal in a flash
If you can’t get enough oatmeal but the fibre is bothering your stomach, try quick oatmeal. “Instant oatmeal, often known as ‘fast oats,’ is the most processed and broken down of the oats, making it a little simpler to stomach,” adds Modell. To avoid boredom, add some interesting toppings to your oatmeal bowl.
10. Foods with a soft feel
Bloated? You should pay close attention to the texture of the food you’re eating. “How bloated you feel after eating is frequently determined by the texture of your meal,” explains Modell. “This is critical for those who suffer from gastroparesis.” If you suffer from bloating or gastroparesis, soft meals such as cooked vegetables, smoothies, soups, pureed foods (hello, hummus! ), or fat-free refried beans may help.
11. Fruit purees and applesauce
Fruit is high in nutrients and antioxidants, but the fibre in fruit might cause digestive issues in people who already have an upset stomach. It’s easy to break down the fibre and make it simpler to digest by cooking and pureeing it. Applesauce is easy on the stomach and contains pectic, which may aid in the treatment of some forms of diarrhoea.
Eggs are high in protein, choline, calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals, and they’re simple to digest whether hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled. Serve eggs with toast for a carbohydrate boost that may aid individuals recuperating from a stomach illness or nausea. Use olive oil instead of butter for frying eggs, since it may be gentler on the stomach.
When you’re having digestive problems, avoid these 6 meals that might induce indigestion
- meals with a kick
- foods that are fried
- Saturated and/or salty fats from red meat, cured meat, and other sources
- Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners
- Acidic meals, such as grapefruits or sauces made with vinegar
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and other caffeinated beverages
Finally, if you have digestive difficulties caused by foods, speak with a physician, gastroenterologist, or trained dietitian, and consult with them before making any substantial dietary adjustments.