what to eat and drink when you have gastro

Gastroenteritis, commonly known as gastro, is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines primarily caused by viral or bacterial infections. It leads to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever. Managing food and drink intake is crucial to aid recovery and prevent dehydration. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to eat and drink when experiencing gastroenteritis:

What to Drink:

Clear Liquids: Begin with clear fluids like water, electrolyte solutions, clear broths, and herbal teas. These help to replenish lost fluids and maintain hydration.

Electrolyte Drinks: Replenish lost electrolytes with drinks like oral rehydration solutions (ORS), sports drinks (diluted to reduce sugar), or coconut water. They restore essential minerals like sodium and potassium.

Ice Chips: Suck on ice chips if you’re having trouble keeping fluids down. They help maintain hydration without overwhelming your stomach.

Ginger Tea: Ginger has anti-nausea properties. Ginger tea or ginger ale (flat, without carbonation) can help soothe the stomach.

Chamomile Tea: Known for its calming effect on the stomach, chamomile tea can alleviate nausea and aid digestion.

What to Eat:

BRAT Diet: Initially, consider the BRAT diet—bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are easy to digest and help firm up stools.

Bland Foods: Gradually introduce bland, low-fiber foods like plain crackers, plain pasta, boiled potatoes, steamed chicken, or cooked vegetables without added spices.

Probiotic Foods: Yogurt with live cultures or probiotic supplements can help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut, aiding recovery.

Avoid Certain Foods: Stay away from fatty, spicy, acidic, or dairy-rich foods as they can exacerbate symptoms.


Small, Frequent Meals: Consume small portions of food at regular intervals rather than large meals to ease digestion and prevent overwhelming the stomach.

Hydration is Key: Drink fluids regularly, even if you can only manage small sips at a time, to prevent dehydration.

Avoid Irritants: Skip caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages as they can irritate the stomach lining and worsen symptoms.

Rest and Gradual Progression: Allow your body to rest. Once symptoms improve, slowly reintroduce normal foods into your diet.

Warning Signs:

Seek medical attention if you experience:

Severe dehydration (dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination).

Bloody stools or vomit.

High fever.

Signs of severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting.


Gastroenteritis can be uncomfortable and challenging, but proper hydration and a carefully chosen diet can help manage symptoms and speed up recovery. Start with clear fluids and gradually introduce easily digestible foods. Listen to your body and adjust your diet according to what feels tolerable. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

Remember, this guide provides general advice. Individual tolerances and specific conditions might require personalized dietary adjustments. Consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended for personalized advice tailored to your situation.

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