What to eat when we have gastroenteritis? (AND 11 prohibited foods)

Gastroenteritis is a gastrointestinal disease, usually caused by the action of Rotavirus in children under 2 and over 60, and Norovirus in the general population. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disease that causes inflammation of the internal membranes of the intestines and stomach, which can last up to two weeks.

During gastroenteritis it is natural to have abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, feverjoint pain, tiredness and loss of appetite. Part of the risk of gastroenteritis is dehydration and lack of nutrients from diarrhea, which hinders normal bowel activity. Therefore, a correct diet is essential to minimize the discomfort caused by this disease.

What we can eat during gastroenteritis

Loss of appetite and nausea common in gastroenteritis. This makes it difficult for us to eat food and keep it inside, which has a certain dangerousness associated with it. We can become dehydrated, which makes it difficult for our body to fight infection properly. In some vulnerable groups, the risks of dehydration are greater and should be taken very seriously, as in children or people over 60.

Next We list some of the foods we can eat if we’re suffering from gastroenteritis. It is recommended to start with the softer foods and add foods with more substance as we can tolerate them. If when consuming a food we notice strong nausea, it is better to change it for another one that we can tolerate better.

1. The first two or three days of illness

In the early stages of gastroenteritiswhen it has a greater impact on our appetite, we should focus primarily on our appetite. hydration. Depending on the severity of the infection it will be more or less difficult for us to tolerate food, but in the first few days it is common for practically anything to cause nausea.

To avoid dehydration, it is recommended:

  • Drinking water, including sparkling water
  • Take clear broths, without too much substance.
  • Drinking sugar-free or low-sugar sports drinks
  • Eating grated ice

As we have commented, the first two or three days we should mainly avoid dehydration that causes diarrhea. The consumption of sugar-free and light liquids is recommended. To avoid nausea, try to drink constantly in small sips, otherwise you may become vomited and lose more fluids.

2. After the first few days of gastroenteritis

As the days go by, our organism slowly recovers normality and can tolerate solid food without vomiting. This stage can last up to two weeks, so we must maintain as complete a diet as possible, but we still have difficulty digesting certain foods. Among the recommended foods for these days, we would find:

  • Caffeine-free infusions for breakfast or snacks
  • White rice
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Boiled hake
  • Cooked ham
  • Gelatine
  • Toasted bread
  • Salted biscuits
  • Boiled vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Yogurt or low-fat cheese

We should avoid raw, seasoned, high-fat or sugary foods.. If we start eating something and see that we do not tolerate it, we should not force ourselves to continue eating, it is better to go back to another food that we know will not cause us nausea. As the days go by, we can try more and more solid and dense foods, but without going too far.


Prohibited foods

Your own body will send you pretty clear signals about what you can and can’t eat.in the form of severe nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. To avoid this unpleasant experience as much as possible, we should avoid certain substances, at least until we have no symptoms such as diarrhea.

Some of the foods we should avoid would be:

1. Fatty cheeses

Digestion of fats is altered during gastroenteritis. Whenever we can, avoiding fats while having symptoms of gastroenteritis will facilitate the digestion of food and relieve some of the discomfort of the disease.

Cheese or other foods high in fat, such as other dairy products (butter, yoghurt…) should be avoided to ensure the most comfortable digestion possible.

2. Caffeinated beverages

Caffeine is a gastrointestinal irritant. Considering that gastroenteritis occurs from inflammation of the internal membranes of this system, it does not seem a good idea to add “wood to the fire” by taking irritating foods. Caffeine, unfortunately, must be avoided as long as we have gastroenteritis.

3. Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol, in addition to the health problems that it can cause if abused, is poorly recommended for those with gastroenteritis. Like caffeine, alcohol can irritate our intestines, worsening the symptoms of the disease. Plus, its diuretic effects make it difficult to maintain proper hydration, which is critical while recovering from gastroenteritis. Avoid at all costs.

4. French fries

French fries are a very unhealthy food, as it contains high amounts of fats and salts. In fact, as a curiosity, some studies claim that it is better for our health to eat two hamburgers in one sitting than to accompany a hamburger with chips. Their high fat content makes them unsuitable for people with gastroenteritis.

5. Spicy food

Spicy food is a known irritant of the gastric and intestinal mucous membranes.. Without gastroenteritis, it is common for spicy food to cause diarrhea, stomach pain and burning when evacuating, especially if we have abused it or are not very accustomed. Like alcohol and coffee, hot sauce should be actively avoided when we have gastroenteritis.

6. Sugared drinks

Any food rich in sugar, especially refined sugar, will be detrimental to our state of health if we have gastroenteritis. It is known that foods with a high sugar content May worsen diarrheaso we must avoid them to alleviate our gastroenteritis.

7. Ice cream

Ice cream may seem like a good option, since it’s soft. Unfortunately, its high fat and sugar content rules it out as part of the proper diet of a gastroenteritis patient. Even if it is too hot, we should avoid ice cream, especially those containing milk.

8. Dried fruits

Dried fruits can dehydrate us during their passage through the body. In addition, they are usually high in sugar. This is a very bad combination for a person with gastroenteritis, so we should try to avoid them.

9. Fruits in syrup

The syrup is basically sugar and water.. The proportion of sugar in syrup is very high, so fruits stored in syrup tend to contain less water and more sugar than pieces of fresh fruit. For the reasons mentioned above, fruit in syrup is also prohibited for patients with gastroenteritis.

10. Chocolate

We’re sorry. Chocolate is also a stomach irritant, as is caffeine. In addition, if we take it with milk or even white, its fat content begins to be important, so it helps even less to our delicate state of health during gastroenteritis.

11. Raw food

In general, raw foods are not recommended during gastroenteritis processes. Sushi, carpaccio, steak tartar or uncooked vegetables are foods whose digestion is a little more laborious. Whenever we can, we should eat cooked foods to avoid worsening gastroenteritis.

Bibliographic references

  • Stuempfig ND, Seroy J. Viral Gastroenteritis. (2019). In: StatPearls (Internet). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518995/..
  • Chow, C. M., Leung, A. K., & Hon, K. L. (2010). Acute gastroenteritis: from guidelines to real life. Clinical and experimental gastroenterology, 3, 97-112.

This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.