Nutrition post sickness

Nobody likes getting sick, but a stomach bug can really wipe you out.

Post sickness we often do not have much of an appetite, but we know we have to try and eat to get our energy levels. There are some specific foods that may help get you back on your feet once the toughest phase subsides.

Sickness causes damage to our gut lining, disruption to our stomach acid levels, dehydration and causes us to under eat. We need to use nutrition to deal with these areas to get us back in the game!


During the sickness

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It is all about hydration. Sipping on water, electrolytes and using sachets such as dioralyte is essential. When being sick it can simply be a case of riding it out. If you can eat anything we advise very small mouthfuls and keep it to the foods listed below.

Post sickness

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse recommends easing back into eating after a stomach bug by consuming bland, easily digestible foods. Focus on eating -

  • Potatoes

  • Rice

  • Bananas

  • Clear soups / broths

  • Toast

  • Lean cuts of meat and fish

  • Spinach, asparagus, onion, garlic, artichokes

  • Spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cumin

These low fibre foods make your stool firmer aiding in recovery from diarrhoea. Lean cuts of meat and fish are easier to digest than fattier cuts and will provide amino acids to aid metabolism and detoxification.

We suggest eating smaller meals. Slowly increase the size over 3-4 days until you feel back to normal. Asking the body to digest big meals often causes digestive issues.

There is increased sensitivity to the gut lining after illness so eating foods that contain nutrients to repair this is recommended. Broths, soups, prebiotic foods (Spinach, asparagus, onion, garlic, artichokes) and cabbage can be included in meals and snacks. They contain collagen and prebiotics that will help repair the damaged gut.

If you feel you suffer from acid reflux after being ill this is due to an imbalance in stomach acid. It can be due to low stomach acid as well as high. If you suffer from this try adding apple cider vinegar daily alongside eating oats and ginger alongside the foods above.


Foods to Avoid

After enduring a stomach bug, we want to try and skip foods with little nutritional value or foods that might further upset your stomach. Avoid

  • Caffeine (what?!) Yep sorry folks

  • Higher fat foods - Limit salmon, mackerel, beef, pork, lamb, nuts

  • Spicy foods - Very spicy foods can cause issues for some people

  • Sugary foods - Should be doing tis anyway!

You may be unable to tolerate dairy for a few days after having diarrhoea. If that’s the case, steer clear of it and other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt. Yoghurt can be a good source of probiotics but just have a small amount and see how you feel. We would suggest to only add in once you are feeling back to 100%.


Meal choices

Breakfast

Main meals

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Supplementation

First thing to do is get your hydration and main meals planned. Nourishing your body through whole foods is the priority. You can then add these in to help support your recovery.

Probiotics are essential for overall gut health and immune function. Vitamin C and zinc are also crucial for immune function with zinc being an important nutrient for gut health.


Transitioning back into training

For the majority of us we will have lost weight, feel very sluggish and the thought of going back to training is non existent!

Do not put pressure on yourself to do anything. Yes it will be hard the first few sessions but you will not have lost all your gainz after being ill for 4 days.

Same as the meal structure we outlined….start small. Scale your weights and just enjoy moving. Then slowly over a week / 10 days you will feel like you have more energy (due to more food) and you can start to train properly.

Lastly, do not under-eat thinking you can keep the weight off. You will have lost mostly water weight and a there will have been reduction in muscle glycogen (due to not eating). You need to be nourishing your body to get you back to 100%.