What to eat and drink after food poisoning: Foods and drinks to feel better

Food poisoning occurs when a person eats contaminated or undercooked foods tainted with germs such as Campylobacter, E. coli, norovirus, Salmonella, or Vibrio.

When a person eats these foods, they can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, and headache. These symptoms can make it hard to keep down food.

Once a person starts feeling better and they are no longer vomiting, they may wish to start reintroducing foods that will restore their energy.

Best foods and drinks to eat after food poisoning

When a person reintroduces food after a bout of food poisoning, the goal is to eat foods that are easy to digest. This may mean following a diet for an upset stomach known as the BRAT diet.

BRAT stands for:

  • bananas
  • rice
  • applesauce
  • toast

The BRAT diet is one of the main dietary recommendations for recovery from gastrointestinal illness.

People suggest this diet is ideal for helping a person recover because the four foods are bland in taste and high in starch. As a result, they help bind stools together and reduce the incidence of diarrhea.

Though research is lacking to confirm the effectiveness of the BRAT diet, there is some evidence that green bananas and rice benefit children with diarrhea.

The banana in the BRAT diet is also high in potassium, which may help replace lost electrolytes.

Other foods to try include:

  • fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut
  • clear broths, especially bone broths
  • low-sugar oatmeal
  • plain potatoes
  • saltine crackers
  • baked chicken without skin
  • turkey

These foods are good to eat because of their blandness, starchiness, and nutritional content. The longer the illness lasts, the more protein a person needs to aid the healing process and prevent muscle breakdown in the absence of enough food and calories.

Once a person can keep down these mild foods, they should be able to return to their regular diet within 24 to 48 hours of being able to tolerate food intake.

A person can often treat mild to moderate food poisoning with over-the-counter methods. However, if a person has any of the following symptoms, they may need to see a doctor:

  • bloody stools, which can sometimes resemble coffee grounds or have red streaks
  • dehydration symptoms, such as little urination, dry mouth, or dizziness
  • diarrhea that lasts longer than 3 days
  • fever above 101.5°F
  • vomiting that prevents a person from keeping liquids down

If a person has any of these symptoms, they may need intravenous fluids to re-hydrate them. They can also receive medications to reduce nausea and slow movement in the gut to reduce diarrhea. Sometimes, a person may need to take antibiotics to reduce levels of bacteria in their stomach.

However, a person should usually only take medications to slow diarrhea or stop vomiting after they have had time to rid their body of the infection. Otherwise, the bacteria can remain for a longer time.


Food poisoning is an unpleasant condition that ideally will improve after a few days. A person can carefully start to reintroduce bland foods and hydrating beverages to reduce their symptoms and help them feel stronger after being ill.

However, if people experience dehydration symptoms or blood in their stool or vomit, they should see a doctor. A doctor can recommend further treatments that can help them feel better and overcome their food poisoning.

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