Friday, August 30, 2013

Nutrition for Nausea

Stomach bugs are gross.
I have been in bed for the past 2.5 days with a stomach bug. I do not know how it happened, where it happened or why it happened. I am hand sanitizer extraordinaire and a sleep stickler. Alas, sometimes even the best health habits and oodles of antioxidants do not keep you immune from a virus.

My biggest ailment is the persistent nausea. As a dietitian and runner who thinks about food 24/7 and has a hearty appetite, this symptom is very strange. The thought of eating makes me cringe and the smell of food cooking forces me to lie down. Though it may be difficult, it is important to maintain proper nutrition during these times to prevent complications such as dehydration.

The fundamentals of what we think of as 'good' nutrition are out the window when it comes to treatment and recovery of a stomach virus with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This is a situation when fiber needs to be avoided and sports drinks are acceptable when lying around.

When the time comes that you feel you can stomach something to eat, choose foods that are easy to chew, swallow and digest. This would include:
Go bland and boring.
  • toast, crackers, pretzels
  • fat-free yogurt
  • sherbet
  • boiled potatoes, rice, noodles
  • baked or broiled chicken 
  • eggs cooked without fat
  • canned peaches, applesauce or other soft, bland fruits
  • clear carbonated beverages, sports drinks, apple/cranberry/grape juice, jello, ice pops, tea, water 
To not exacerbate the illness, avoid foods that are high in fat and fiber, spicy and have a strong odor. I find that I can only tolerate foods that are cold or room temperature rather than hot. Eat small frequent meals instead of shooting for 3 large meals a day. One mistake that I made early on was that I forced myself to eat foods that I normally like to eat. Now I never want wraps with almond butter ever again. And remember to drink, drink, drink!

Flowers from someone you love by your bedside helps too!

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