The Best Food to Eat for an Upset Stomach

An upset stomach, often referred to as dyspepsia, is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems. You might want to read this article if you have this problem. This is because it'll discuss the types of food you should either be eating or avoiding in order to put an end to your discomfort.
The Best Food to Eat for an Upset Stomach
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

There are many parameters in a diet to relieve an upset stomach, also known as dyspepsia. This kind of discomfort in the upper abdomen is usually either due to a Helicobacter pylori infection or recurrent gastroesophageal reflux.

Today’s article will give you some pointers in regard to changes you can make to your diet. Continue reading so you can put them into practice. You won’t just relieve the discomfort by doing so but also recover your regular lifestyle. Consult your doctor so they can make an accurate diagnosis if the problem persists.

Types of food to eat or avoid when you have an upset stomach

We’ve listed some groups of food you should eat or avoid eating in order to relieve an upset stomach. It’ll help you adjust your diet and reduce your symptoms.

Types of food you should have in your diet

Fish and lean meats are among the types of food that should form part of a diet for a person with dyspepsia. This is because they can provide the proteins that can help you repair tissue. In addition, they contain few lipids, the kind responsible for constipation, and thus the reason for discomfort.

Always opt for fish and other white meats as they’ll lead to better digestion. At least according to a publication in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Your priority here is to limit your fat intake so as to reduce gastric reflux — it’ll worsen dyspepsia.

In addition, lean cuts of meat and fish will provide the daily protein your body needs. Similarly, you’ll be supplementing your diet with all sorts of nutrients that’ll support your natural metabolic processes. Keep in mind that cardiovascular health requires a well-balanced diet for maintenance and prevention.

In addition, you must introduce fermented types of food as they contain probiotics. Yogurt and kefir are two good examples of this. You may not know it but regular intake of probiotics can relieve an upset stomach and other types of gastrointestinal problems.

A lean cut of meat.
Lean meat facilitates gastrointestinal transit; thus, minimizing reflux.

Find out what are the Eight Bothersome Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers

Consume these types of food in moderation

Reduce your consumption of refined flours and sugars as these often lead to gastrointestinal problems.

According to experts, people with dyspepsia can’t absorb fructose properly and it impacts their ability to digest and metabolize sugars.

In addition, limit your fiber consumption. Indeed a certain amount is necessary to guarantee proper intestinal transit. However, an excess could lead to constipation and worsen an upset stomach.

It’s for this reason that you must restrict your regular intake of refined pasta and cereals. Instead, resort to root vegetables to meet your carb needs.

Also, it’s important to reduce your intake of bad fats and minimize your intake of fried food. This is because these types of meals increase your risk of reflux and lead to slow digestion. Try to cook your food on a grill, in the oven, or a steamer instead.

By extension, lower your intake of heavy sauces and gravies as they don’t only add calories to your diet, but lead to constipation which, in turn, causes stomach discomfort.

You might like to read about the Eight Types of Food that Bloat Your Stomach

Stay away from these types of food to relieve an upset stomach

Many types of food should disappear from the diet of those with dyspepsia. Alcohol and acidic goods such as cocoa, for example.

In fact, regular alcohol consumption is one of the key risk factors for developing functional dyspepsia. At least according to research published in Revista de Gastroenterología de Mexico. In addition, many of these types of products are usually packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners, both of which considerably worsen this condition.

Similarly, limit your consumption of spicy foods as these are irritants. In fact, there’s sufficient scientific evidence to restrict them in anyone with gastrointestinal conditions.

Shaved pieces of chocolate.
Most commercial chocolates contain large amounts of sugar and it added to the natural acid in cocoa can worsen dyspepsia.

A well-balanced diet can improve an upset stomach

As you can see, modifying your diet is rather transcendental when it comes to relieving dyspepsia. Thus, you must consult a doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. However, any changes you make in your diet are crucial.

Limit your intake of fat and fiber, and increase your consumption of fermented products if you have chronic stomach problems. Also, discuss probiotics with your doctor and ask them to suggest some supplements that can improve the prognosis of your condition.

Finally, stay away from both alcohol and irritants. Try to restrict them entirely from your diet in order to avoid major complications. As usual, consult a doctor or nutritionist so that they can help you design a menu to suit your individual needs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Tan VP., The low FODMAP diet in the management of functional dyspepsia in east and southeast asia. J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2017. 1: 46-52.
  • Fujihara Ozaki RK., Leite Speridiao PG., Fontenele Soares AC., Morais MB., Intestinal fructose malabsorptioin is associated with increased lactulose fermentation in the intestinal lumen. J Pediatr, 2018. 94 (6): 609-615.
  • Zhang J., Wu HM., Wang X., Xie J., et al., Efficacy of prebiotics and probiotics for functional dyspepsia: a systematic review and meta analysis. Medicine, 2020.
  • Saneei P., Sadeghi O., Feizi A., Keshteli AH., Deghaghzadeh H., et al., Relationship between spicy food intake and chronic uninvestigated dyspepsia in iranian adults. J Dig Dis, 2016. 17 (1): 28-35.
  • Socarrás Suárez, María Matilde, and Miriam Bolet Astoviza. “Alimentación saludable y nutrición en las enfermedades cardiovasculares.” Revista Cubana de Investigaciones Biomédicas 29.3 (2010): 353-363.
  • Bolet Astoviza, Miriam, and María Matilde Socarrás Suárez. “Alimentación adecuada para mejorar la salud y evitar enfermedades crónicas.” Revista Cubana de medicina general integral 26.2 (2010): 0-0.
  • Hernando-Harder, Ana C., et al. “Dispepsia funcional: Nuevos conocimientos en la fisiopatogenia con implicaciones terapéuticas.” Medicina (Buenos Aires) 67.4 (2007): 379-388.
  • Ferrer, Javier Diaz, et al. “Utilidad del Suplemento de Probioticos (Lactobacillus acidophilus y bulgaricus) en el Tratamiento del Sindrome de Intestino Irritable.” Revista de Gastroenterología del Perú 32.4 (2017): 387-93.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.