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Foods that are easy to digest during illness
November 26, 2017, 2:16 pm

Although the body needs various nutrients, including fiber, protein, and fats, some foods containing these can contribute to stomach issues. For example, foods that are high in good fiber, such as vegetables and wheat, are harder to digest than simpler carbohydrates. Also, fatty foods and some animal-based proteins take time for the body to break down and can mean hard work for the digestive system.

Below are some foods that may help people who are experiencing or recovering from illness. The foods listed are usually more easily digested than other, more complex foods that take larger amounts of the body's energy to break down.

Toast: Often a staple of a bland diet, toast is easy for the stomach and gut to digest. Toast can be helpful to decrease nausea and reduce heartburn. But not all toast is the same. Whole wheat bread is high in fiber and can be difficult for some people to digest. So, to avoid digestion problems, a person can stick to white toast and skip the butter when they have been unwell. If someone has an intolerance to wheat or gluten-containing foods, they can choose a wheat or gluten-free bread option.

White rice: Rice is a grain that is a good energy source for the body's needs. But not all grains are easy to digest. Those high in fiber, such as brown rice, can contribute to digestive issues, such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas.  When looking for grains that are easy on the digestive system, white rather than brown rice may be a better option that will also provide carbohydrates for energy.

Bananas: A good source of carbohydrates, bananas can be digested easily by most people. In ripe bananas, these carbohydrates are even more accessible. In addition, bananas are also a good choice because they provide the body with potassium, which can be lost during a bout of diarrhea.

Eggs: Providing protein and minerals that help keep the body healthy, eggs especially in the scrambled form are soft, simple and easily digested, which makes them favorable for people who are getting over a stomach virus or a bout of nausea. Both the white and the yolk are usually well tolerated and easily digested.

Sweet potatoes:  A good source of soluble fiber, sweet potatoes are easier on the digestive system than insoluble fiber. Furthermore, soluble fiber increases the good bacteria in the intestines, which contributes to a healthy digestive system. Moreover, sweet potatoes contain potassium, which is an electrolyte often lost during digestive upsets.

Chicken: Providing a good source of lean protein, chicken helps the body repair itself. Chicken tends to be easy to digest and since it also contains no fiber, it is a good choice for people with digestive issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, it is best to stick to skinless chicken that has been baked or grilled rather than fried.

Salmon: An excellent option when considering an easy-to-digest fish, Salmon is high in protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Baked salmon is usually the best way to serve it for to keep digestion simple.

Gelatin: Often the first food a person can eat in hospital after surgery, gelatin, is easy on the digestive system and can help treat the dehydration that is associated with vomiting and diarrhea. Gelatin also contains no oil or fat and is a simple texture that goes down smoothly.

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