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Eating Your Way Back to Health: What to Eat After Food Poisoning

What to Eat After Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a common and unpleasant experience that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A specific diet can help you recover faster. This article covers what to eat, what to avoid, hydration tips, nutrition advice, and even sample recipes and nutraceuticals to try. Read on to learn more and get back to feeling your best after food poisoning.

What causes food poisoning

Every year, about 48 million Americans suffer from food poisoning. While most cases of food poisoning only cause mild to moderate discomfort, it’s far from harmless as it may seem at first glance: 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die from food poisoning annually. This gives you pause for thought, doesn’t it?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by consuming contaminated food. A primary cause of food poisoning is the many harmful microorganisms that can contaminate food, which is why there are many different foodborne infections (also known as foodborne illnesses or food poisoning).

Researchers have identified more than 250 foodborne diseases. Most infections are caused by various bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Harmful toxins and chemicals can also contaminate food and cause illnesses.

Addressing Foodborne Threats to Health: Policies, Practices, and Global Coordination: Workshop Summary

Yet in other cases, poisoning can be due to toxins that naturally occur the food itself, for example in certain mushrooms or seafood.

Infectious organisms or their toxins can contaminate food at any stage of processing or production. Contamination can also occur in home kitchens if food is improperly handled or cooked.

Below is a list of some of the most common pathogens and viruses that can cause food poisoning:

Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

TOP-10 ingredients
for your health and
balanced meal plan
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.

Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.

It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.

So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?

We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.


  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Vibrio


  • Norovirus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Rotavirus
  • Sapovirus

Foodborne Germs and Illnesses, CDC

It’s worth noting that this list is not exhaustive, and many other types of bacteria and viruses can cause foodborne illness. Identifying the specific pathogen that caused food poisoning can be complex and requires laboratory testing of the contaminated food and/or a stool sample from the affected individual. In many cases, people who suspect they have food poisoning may be unable to identify the pathogen that caused their illness.

Symptoms of food poisoning can start within a few hours of consuming contaminated food. They most commonly include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food poisoning often runs its course in a mild form and resolves without treatment, but some people may require hospitalization.

While the exact symptoms may vary depending on the specific microbe (e.g., bacteria, virus, or parasite) that contaminated food or drink, most people with food poisoning will experience some degree of nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea that can usually be managed on their own. In some cases, antibiotics or hospitalization for intravenous fluid administration may be necessary. In the most severe cases, food poisoning can even be fatal.

Food poisoning can affect individuals and groups of people who have consumed contaminated food or drink, depending on the amount of microbe or toxin consumed by each person and their sensitivity to it.

Many different types of food can cause food poisoning; for example, foods that require refrigeration but were left at room temperature for too long. This is why food poisoning is common following picnics and buffets, where foods are often left outside of refrigerators for long periods.

Other common sources of food poisoning include:

  • raw shellfish;
  • raw or undercooked meat or poultry;
  • unpasteurized dairy products;
  • unwashed vegetables;
  • unwashed fruits.

What causes food poisoning

Many cases of food poisoning are not officially reported because most people recover at home within a few days. However, if you experience severe symptoms of food poisoning, a visit to your physician is crucial. They may order a blood test to determine the cause of food poisoning. A stool sample may also be needed to identify which microbe is causing the food poisoning.

Why is it important to monitor your diet after poisoning

A diet is crucial to effective and quick treatment during and after food poisoning. It helps to restore the body and improve the digestive system’s functioning.

The post-poisoning diet is necessary for recovery and to prevent complications from the disease. It also helps to manage the following disruptions in the body:

  • Inflammation of the stomach mucosa.
  • Electrolyte imbalances, protein deficiencies, and blood pH imbalances. Along with vomiting and diarrhea, the body loses a significant amount of protein and micronutrients. A well-chosen diet can solve this problem.
  • Problems with the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis often develops in children who suffer instances of food poisoning. The pancreas is the main organ involved in digestion.
  • Liver damage. For example, a diet during alcohol poisoning reduces the load on this organ, as it filters and neutralizes all alcohol. The liver is primarily affected during poisoning caused by mushrooms, toxins, and other harmful substances.
  • Kidneys. The kidneys eliminate most toxins and poisons. Renal failure can develop in case of poisoning caused by mushrooms, alcohol, or chemicals.

What is it that you can and cannot consume hours and days after poisoning

On the initial day of food poisoning, if diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting persist, it is usually necessary to abstain entirely from food. Proper nutrition on this day will consist of abundant drinking. This is because any food product can be a potential provoking factor for the intoxication to continue. During this time, you can drink plain, non-carbonated mineral water, weak rosehip, or chamomile infusions. Oral rehydration agents to help normalize the water-salt balance will also be beneficial.

Here are some examples of rehydration agents available in American pharmacies:

  1. Pedialyte – an oral electrolyte solution specifically designed to replenish fluids and electrolytes in children and adults.
  2. DripDrop ORS – a medical-grade oral rehydration solution designed to treat dehydration during illness, exercise, and travel.

Adsorbents are very helpful for food poisoning. Some examples of adsorbents include:

  1. Activated charcoal (CharcoCaps, Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal, etc.)
  2. Kaolin and pectin suspension (Kaopectate, Kapectolin, etc.)
  3. Attapulgite (Kaopectate Anti-Diarrheal, etc.)
  4. Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate Extra Strength, etc.)
  5. Bentonite clay (Yerba Prima Great Plains Bentonite Detox, etc.)

Lemon tea is prohibited on the first day as it will increase the acidity of the gastric juice and irritate the mucous membrane.

Starting from the second day, you can gradually introduce food into your diet. When reintroducing food after food poisoning, the goal is to consume foods that are easy to digest. This can be achieved by following, for example, a diet known as the BRAT diet.

The BRAT diet is commonly recommended for people recovering from gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea or vomiting. The acronym stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Apples or applesauce
  • Toast

The BRAT diet is low in fiber and fat and is easy to digest. The diet is often recommended as a short-term strategy to help alleviate symptoms and help the digestive system recover. 

The BRAT diet is ideal for helping people recover from food poisoning because these four foods are generally safe from toxins and contain a lot of starch. As a result, they help bind stool and reduce the frequency of diarrhea. Additionally, bananas are rich in potassium, which can help replace lost electrolytes.

Other foods that can be consumed are:

  • Broths, especially bone broths
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Baked chicken without skin
  • Turkey

These foods are suitable because of their softness, high starch content, and nutritional value. The longer the illness lasts, the more protein a person needs to help heal and prevent muscle breakdown.

Once you can tolerate soft foods, gradually return to your regular diet. Some people may also add fermented foods known for their probiotic properties to replace beneficial gut bacteria lost during the illness.

Beneficial fermented products include:

  • Yogurt
  • Miso soup
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha


One of the best ways to treat food poisoning is to drink plenty of water. Water is essential because the body loses much water due to diarrhea and vomiting. 

Maintaining hydration is one of the most important things in treating food poisoning. Therefore, it ensuring you get enough water and drink when experiencing food poisoning is crucial.

The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry lips
  • Dry tongue, dryness in the mouth
  • Decreased amount of urine or dark urine
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • b thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid breathing

Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics

To cope with mild dehydration:

  • Take frequent sips of water.
  • Use soups and drinks with plenty of plain water.
  • Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, and other caffeinated beverages. These drinks can worsen dehydration.
  • Try ginger – its anti-nausea benefits are so pronounced that everyone, from pregnant women to those undergoing chemotherapy, can use it to alleviate nausea. Simply add fresh ginger root to hot water and enjoy.

Milk is not recommended after food poisoning because it is a dairy product that can be difficult to digest, especially for those who have experienced gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, milk may contain bacteria that can further aggravate the symptoms of food poisoning. 

Foods to avoid

Knowing which foods should be avoided in case of food poisoning is crucial. 

The following foods are not recommended after poisoning:

  • Spicy food (only a little salt can be added to the food after poisoning)
  • Fried food
  • Fatty foods (e.g., fatty meat or fish)
  • Canned food

Canned food

  • Fiber-rich vegetables: these can cause irritation and exacerbate the inflammatory process 
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, asparagus)
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh fruits (except bananas)
  • Bread and pastries: these stay in the intestines for a long time and create an excess of acid, leading to fermentation
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • Marmalade
  • Marshmallows
  • Dairy products
  • Uncooked products
  • Snacks (chips, salted crackers, snacks, popcorn, corn sticks)
  • Fresh and store-bought juice
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Sauces (mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup)
  • Oils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Nutrition recommendations after food poisoning

When dieting after food poisoning, it is important to follow the rules for meal timing, food selection, and preparation. Here are some recommendations to help you recover faster:

  • It is recommended that all food be consumed warm to avoid irritating the stomach lining.
  • Eat small portions frequently. The volume should not exceed the size of your fist. Take breaks of 2-3 hours between meals. After food poisoning, this eating pattern regulates the motility of the stomach and intestines. It improves the function of the pancreas and liver.
  • The diet for food poisoning in adults involves complete abstinence from smoking and alcohol. Also, you should forgo coffee and b tea for a while. If you cannot quit smoking, try to do it infrequently, e.g., after meals.
  • Cook food in a steamer or oven or boil it. Fried and smoked food should be avoided.
  • The best option for food preparation is mashing it to achieve a puree-like consistency. This helps your body digest food easier.
  • Do not consume canned or processed foods.
  • Eat only homemade food. Buying ready-made dishes in supermarkets or cafes is not recommended when experiencing poisoning or diarrhea. The weakened body is very susceptible to infections and there is a high risk of relapse.
  • Buy products only from official markets and supermarkets. Do not buy products if you are unsure of their quality.
  • When buying products, carefully check the date of manufacture and the integrity of the packaging. Check meat for freshness by smelling it. 
  • Do not add b spices, bay leaf, or vinegar when cooking. You can add a little salt to improve the taste of dishes.
  • Drink large amounts of water or herbal infusions. Chamomile or rosehip are recommended.

Nutrition tips for different types of food poisoning

Food poisoning in children

Food poisoning often affects children. The cause may be poor nutrition and a failure to follow basic hygiene rules. The diet after food poisoning in children must be just as strict as in adults: from three days to a week in simple cases, and for several months if food poisoning is associated with several organ malfunctions.

Symptoms of food poisoning in a child include frequent vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, and in isolated cases, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. 

On the first day after a child gets food poisoning, excluding all food from their diet is bly recommended, only providing them with plenty of fluids. Parents can occasionally give the child an electrolyte solution. 

If it has been some time since the consumption of the offending food product, parents should try to induce vomiting. If that does not work, give the child activated charcoal.

Parents should be aware that they should not force children to eat after food poisoning if they refuse to. If a child refuses to eat, it likely means that toxin elimination from the body is incomplete, and fresh food can only worsen their condition.

The following are dietary recommendations for children after food poisoning:

  • Make porridge by boiling rice or buckwheat in water to a thick jelly-like consistency. Do not add any butter.
  • Baked apples or bananas can be consumed as fruits. 
  • Boiled and mashed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are the permitted vegetables.
  • Avoid carbohydrate drinks altogether. Their consumption can only be resumed on the fourth day.
  • Low-fat dairy products can only be given to a child with a doctor’s permission, not earlier than a week after a food poisoning incident.
  • On the fourth day, boiled or baked low-fat fish such as cod, pollock, and perch can be added to the diet.
  • Fatty and smoked foods, spices, and fresh herbs should be completely avoided.
  • Children’s diet after food poisoning should be supplemented with a complex of vitamins and minerals.

The post food poisoning diet minimizes the harmful effects of certain foods on the weakened system. Parents should carefully monitor their child’s diet to prevent relapses.

Don’t hesitate to contact a doctor in case of severe symptoms of food poisoning in children. According to the CDC, every day, 2,195 children die due to diarrhea globally, which is more than the combined number of deaths caused by AIDS, malaria, and measles.

Diarrhea: Common Illness, Global Killer – CDC

Mushroom Poisoning

It is well-known that for every specie of edible mushroom, there is another severely poisonous. The most common are fly agarics and pale toadstools. These very dangerous mushrooms can damage the nervous system or even lead to death due to food poisoning. Therefore, in the case of their consumption, even in minimal quantities, immediate medical attention is required.

Mushroom Poisoning

Before the ambulance arrives, it is necessary to give the affected person activated charcoal at a rate of 2 grams per 1 pound of body weight. If there is no diarrhea, it can be induced using laxatives. Don’t be afraid of diarrhea or vomiting, as it is a natural reaction of the body to eliminate toxic substances.

After medical procedures, the patient is usually recommended to rest in bed and follow a moderate diet. The diet should be restricted on the first day, and on the second day, the patient should consume only soup with crackers. On the third day, porridge, jelly, and steamed vegetables can be added to the menu. Returning to a regular diet can take up to two weeks or more.

Alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is not always due to excessive drinking; often, alcohol poisoning is caused by surrogate products like mouthwash. Alcohol poisoning is dangerous not only because of general intoxication but also because it can cause long-lasting damage to the liver. It is important to remember that alcohol poisoning can be life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency, just like mushroom poisoning. Prompt action can help prevent severe complications and save lives.

Here are some recommendations to follow in case of alcohol poisoning:

  1. Keep the person awake and seated upright, if possible. If they must lie down, ensure they are on their side to prevent choking if they vomit.
  2. Provide water or other non-alcoholic beverages to help the person stay hydrated, but do not force them to drink. Avoid giving the person coffee or any other stimulants, as this can worsen the effects of alcohol.

Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose

Poisoning during pregnancy

Often, expectant mothers crave specific products, including fruits and vegetables, and may as a result unintentionally consume high levels of nitrates and other pesticides. Alternatively, poisoning can be due to consumption of baked goods or fast food from street vendors in warm weather when the heat can accelerate the growth of harmful bacteria.

If you suspect or experience food poisoning during pregnancy, it is important to take the following steps:

  1. Contact your healthcare provider immediately. They can advise you on what to do and monitor your condition.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, but avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or excessive sugar.
  3. Rest well to give your body time to recover.
  4. Follow a general diet after food poisoning, as discussed above. 

Do not induce vomiting – this can cause bleeding and miscarriage.

If vomiting occurs, drink a small amount of water or rehydrating agents that are marked to be safe during pregnancy.

Nutraceuticals after food poisoning

To ensure safety and efficacy, it is recommended to follow the package instructions for all the nutraceuticals listed below. We also recommend consulting a nutritionist or other specialist before taking any products.

Probiotics containing strain Saccharomyces boulardii (e.g., Florastor available in American pharmacies)

Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients

Saccharomyces boulardii is a beneficial yeast that can be helpful during poisoning:

  • It restores the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
  • It produces compounds that can help strengthen the intestinal barrier and prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the intestinal lining.
  • It has anti-inflammatory effect, which may help reduce intestinal inflammation associated with food poisoning and diarrhea.
Curcumin (curcuma longa), the active ingredient in turmeric

The Natural Product Curcumin as an Antibacterial Agent: Current Achievements and Problems

  • Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the gut caused by food poisoning.
  • Curcumin has antimicrobial effects, combatting several bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including Salmonella and E. coli.
  • Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which can be elevated during food poisoning.
Psyllium in capsules or powder-soluble fiber derived from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds
  • Psyllium can absorb water and form a gel-like substance, which can help to solidify stools and reduce diarrhea caused by food poisoning.
  • Psyllium has a soothing effect on the gut lining, which can help alleviate inflammation and irritation caused by food poisoning.
  • Psyllium promotes probiotic activity, meaning it can promote the growth and activity of beneficial gut bacteria, which can help to restore gut health after food poisoning.
Ginger extract, derived from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant

Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials

  • Ginger extract has antiemetic effect, and can help reduce nausea and vomiting associated with food poisoning.
  • Ginger extract has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and irritation in the gut caused by food poisoning.
  • Ginger extract has antimicrobial effects against several bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning, including Salmonella and norovirus.
Peppermint oil in capsules, derived from the leaves of the Mentha piperita plant

Physical and Antimicrobial Properties of Peppermint Oil Nanoemulsions

  • Peppermint oil can help reduce nausea and vomiting associated with food poisoning.
  • Peppermint oil has antimicrobial effects against several bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning, including Salmonella and E. coli.
  • Peppermint oil has a soothing effect on the gut and can help alleviate abdominal pain caused by food poisoning.
Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C has antioxidant effect, which can help reduce oxidative stress caused by food poisoning and may help support the immune system.

Sample recipes of dishes recommended after food poisoning

Chicken and Rice Soup (6 servings)

This soup contains ingredients that are easy for the digestive system to process, such as cooked chicken and rice. This soup helps to provide hydration and nourishment after a bout of food poisoning.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and sauté for another 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked rice and shredded chicken to the soup and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

Baked Cod with Steamed Vegetables (4 servings)

This dish is a good source of lean protein from the cod and essential vitamins and minerals from the steamed vegetables.


  • 4 cod fillets, about 6 oz each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, and zucchini), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Rub the cod fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fillets in a baking dish and top each one with a slice of lemon.
  3. Bake the cod for 15-20 minutes or until it is cooked and flakes easily with a fork.
  4. While the cod is baking, steam the mixed vegetables for 5-7 minutes or until tender but still crisp.
  5. Once the vegetables are done, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the parsley and stir until it is fragrant for about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve the baked cod with the steamed vegetables and drizzle the parsley butter over the top.

Baked Apples with Cinnamon and Honey (4 servings)

This dessert is naturally sweetened with honey and contains cinnamon, which has proven anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe the digestive system after food poisoning. Apples are also a good source of fiber and other essential nutrients.


  • 4 medium-sized apples, cored
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the honey and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Place the cored apples in a baking dish and fill each with honey and cinnamon.
  4. Pour the water into the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Bake the apples for 25-30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned on the outside.
  6. Serve the baked apples warm, plain, or with a dollop of Greek yogurt, if desired.