We’ve all been there: You just finished a long run and your stomach feels a bit wonky, but you haven’t eaten in hours and you know you need food. Between the waves of nausea, you feel pretty ravenous. The thought of putting food in your stomach sounds terrible and amazing at the same time. Some foods may help with indigestion, while others can do the opposite. What’s a runner to do?
The BRAT Diet
Originally created for children with diarrhea and upset stomachs, BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. What do all of these foods have in common? They are low-fiber simple carbs that are easy to digest. In other words, they are perfect for runners with stomach issues that need to replace glycogen stores but don’t want to upset their stomach with tons of fiber.
If your stomach problems have you running to the bathroom, you can quickly become dehydrated from diarrhea (sorry, it has to be said). The potassium in bananas aids in hydration, which is helpful when the thought of drinking water is nausea-inducing. The only problem with this diet is that it lacks protein and other nutrients, so it’s definitely not a long-term option.
Other Soothing Foods
If you feel like your stomach can handle a bit more than bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, but it’s not ready for a whole meal, give these foods a try.
These have some sugar to replace glycogen, and the cold icy feeling may help soothe your stomach. Avoid varieties that contain fructose or artificial sweeteners in the ingredients, as those might upset the stomach.
Just like toast, this simple carb is easy to digest and replaces some salt lost in sweat.
Cooked Cereal Or Boiled Potatoes
Obviously these aren’t the same foods, but they are both warm starches that are easy on the stomach.
Weak Tea Or Ginger Tea
Slowly sipping hot liquid may help soothe the stomach. Additionally, ginger has been shown to ease digestive issues.
Broth Or Noodle Soup
Soup is another great warm liquid for bellyaches, and the salt in the soup will aid in hydration.
Avocado, Melon Or Papaya
These fruits are low in fiber and easy to digest. The fat in the avocado may be a little too much on the stomach though, so eat it slowly.
The probiotics in yogurt can aid digestion. Plus, it has protein to help soothe tired muscles. Try a few bites and see how you feel before you down a whole container.
If you’re feeling somewhat okay, try some ground meat for a protein boost. The fat in the meat might be too much for the stomach at first, so start small.
Foods To Avoid
Your stomach will probably tell you that these foods won’t go over well, but here’s a little reminder–just in case.
Anything greasy or fried is sure to sit in your stomach and cause further distress. Wait until tomorrow for that post-run burger.
Unfortunately, dairy can cause digestive issues for some people. It’s best to avoid this nutritious drink if your stomach is not feeling okay.
Another nutritious option that isn’t great for an upset stomach is raw veggies. The high fiber content is just too much for a rumbling tummy to handle.
I love a good cup of Joe (especially after a morning run), but it weighs heavy on your stomach. It’s best to avoid coffee when your stomach isn’t feeling right.
Unfortunately, you will also need to wait until tomorrow for that post-run beer. Sorry!