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Food and nutrition

How Should I Change My Diet if I Have Gastroenteritis?

How Should I Change My Diet if I Have Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis, commonly called the intestinal flu, usually causes diarrhea and vomiting.

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestinal tract causing diarrhoea and vomiting.

Should I drink if I have gastroenteritis?

Yes. You should drink because diarrhoea and vomiting cause a loss of water and electrolytes (sodium and potassium). If you are not too ill, adequate oral intake can be achieved with soft drinks, fruit juice, broth, soup, and salted crackers. If you are becoming dehydrated you will need an oral rehydration solution.

 If you have nausea, drink fluids in small quantities, but frequently.

The consumption of cola-based sodas should be avoided because the caffeine in them can aggravate the diarrhoea.

What foods should I avoid if I have gastroenteritis?

  • Avoid consuming vegetables, fruits and fruit juices.
  • Milk products should be avoided, except for yogurts, which re-establish the intestinal flora.
  • Spicy foods and alcohol should be avoided.

What can I eat when I am feeling a little better?

 You can start to eat soft, easily digested foods such as banana, rice, potatoes, noodles, crackers, toast, and soups. It is wise to start with small amounts.

When can I begin to eat again?

When you are no longer nauseated, you can begin to eat by adopting a low fibre diet for two or three days, to give your intestines time to rest. For example:

  • Chicken (white meat), ham, steamed fish,
  • Pasta, rice, without tomato sauce,
  • Yogurts.

 Once you are feeling well, you can resume a normal diet.

Publication date:   5/12/10

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