If people are feeling nauseated, just the thought of food may make them feel worse. However, bland foods, cold foods, protein foods, ginger, and other options may help settle the stomach and provide energy for the body.

People may feel nausea, or the unpleasant and sometimes unavoidable sensation of needing to vomit, for a variety of reasons, such as:

Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids can help manage nausea, but so can eating certain foods.

Eating while feeling sick may seem counterintuitive. However, food can not only help relieve nausea, but it can also replace important nutrients lost after voiding.

This article looks at which foods can help relieve nausea.

People have traditionally used ginger to treat nausea. Gingerols and shogaols are components in ginger that may stimulate the stomach to empty and help to relieve feelings of nausea.

A review of studies looked at the effects of ginger on nausea and vomiting in cases of pregnancy-induced symptoms. Four randomized controlled trials showed that ginger was more effective than a placebo in reducing the intensity of nausea and frequency of vomiting in pregnant females.

The authors of the review also found that ginger was more effective than a placebo in treating morning sickness, seasickness, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Another study supports that ginger may help relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea. The study found that 500 milligrams of powdered ginger root 2 times per day, 5 days before and 5 days after chemotherapy, helped reduce the frequency of vomiting in breast cancer patients.

To incorporate ginger into any diet, people can add ginger powder to broths or add sliced fresh ginger to hot water or herbal teas. Ginger ale is also a good option, as is eating crystallized ginger.

Chicken or vegetable broths are common remedies for sickness, helping everything from headaches to colds to fevers and nausea.

They can be a good source of nutrients that are easy to digest when a person is feeling nauseated.

If people are drinking less or losing fluids through sweating and vomiting, broths can help to replace lost fluids, salt, and electrolytes.

BRAT stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

People may find these foods easier to eat because they are bland and easy to digest.

Bananas are also a good source of energy and nutrients. They are high in potassium, which can help replace any electrolytes lost through vomiting.

However, the BRAT diet does not provide enough nutrients for people over the long term. It may help for a brief period of nausea, but people should start adding a wider variety of foods once they start feeling better.

It is also vital to stay hydrated while on the BRAT diet. People should make sure they take small sips of water frequently. Drinking large gulps of water may upset an already unsettled stomach.

Along with toast, other dry foods can be a good option for people feeling nauseated, as they are plain and easy to digest. They also have little to no odor, which may help reduce feelings of nausea.

Dry foods can include:

  • saltine crackers
  • pretzels
  • oatcakes
  • rice cakes

People may find it easier to eat cold foods when feeling sick, as they often smell less than hot foods. The odor of hot food may increase feelings of nausea for some people.

Good options for cold foods include:

  • a sandwich with protein, such as peanut butter or egg salad
  • crackers with a small amount of cheese
  • yogurt
  • popsicles

Protein helps the body create enzymes that digest food. The body also uses protein to oxygenate blood to carry nutrients to every part of the body.

Good options for protein-rich foods include:

  • peanut butter
  • fish
  • turkey
  • boiled eggs
  • plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • baked tofu (not fried)

People can combine these foods with bland foods, such as toast, rice, or noodles, to increase calories.

There are alternatives to help treat nausea. Aromatherapy may help people manage nausea and relieve vomiting.

A clinical trial found that aromatherapy — specifically infused with peppermint essential oil — helped decrease the frequency, duration, and severity of nausea in postoperative cardiac surgery patients.

Other essential oils that may relieve nausea through aromatherapy include ginger oil, lavender oil, and lemon oil.

Breathing exercises can also help ease nausea symptoms.

One study found that breathing exercises reduced the number of nausea, vomiting, and retching episodes and lowered the severity of nausea in people with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Another study found that diaphragmatic breathing, or deep belly breathing, reduced feelings of motion sickness during virtual reality exposure compared to a control group.

Additionally, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications that help treat nausea, called antiemetics. Options include:

It is normal to experience nausea once in a while, especially when experiencing food poisoning, indigestion, or motion sickness.

However, excessive vomiting can be a cause for concern or indicative of a more serious problem.

Recurrent episodes of vomiting can be associated with:

When it comes to vomiting and nausea, red flags to look out for include:

  • vomiting for more than 1 day
  • bouts of nausea and vomiting for longer than 1 month
  • severe abdominal pain
  • unexplained weight loss
  • progressive headache and neck pain
  • blood in the vomit
  • an inability to keep down clear liquids
  • fever

A person experiencing any of these symptoms should call or visit a doctor.

Emergency services may be necessary if blood is in the vomit, which may be caused by ulcers, ruptured blood vessels, or stomach bleeding.

It is also important to consider other contextual factors, like having a fever or an inability to keep down clear liquids.

A fever with vomiting may indicate an infection or virus, while an inability to keep down clear liquids may point to dehydration.

What foods to avoid when nauseous?

Just as there are foods to help relieve nausea, there are also foods to avoid when nauseous.

Avoid eating fatty, greasy, and fried food, spicy foods, and foods with strong odors. A person should also avoid foods high in sugar, such as sweets and desserts.

What foods treat nausea during pregnancy?

Sticking to a bland diet during pregnancy may be the best way to help with nausea. This includes foods that are:

  • a soft consistency
  • low fiber
  • cooked
  • not spicy

Drinking cold, clear, and carbonated fluids in small amounts between meals may also help alleviate pregnancy-related nausea.

How to treat nausea fast?

There is no instant fix for nausea, but ginger is an effective, inexpensive, and safe treatment for nausea and vomiting that works relatively fast.

Other quick fixes include smelling fresh lemon, mint, or orange, which can be achieved by smelling the actual item or using an oil diffuser with these scents.

Is yogurt good for nausea?

While research shows that cold foods without strong odors may help alleviate nausea, more studies are required to understand the full effects of yogurt for nausea relief.

Are eggs good for nausea?

Research suggests that protein consumption may help relieve nausea in pregnant people.

However, more current research shows that increased protein consumption, especially before exercise, may actually increase the symptoms of nausea in nonpregnant people.

More research is necessary to fully understand if eggs are helpful for relieving nausea.

People may not want to eat much when they are feeling nauseated. However, consuming small amounts of certain foods may help relieve nausea and keep energy levels up.

It is also vital to stay hydrated by drinking clear beverages, such as water or soda, especially to replace lost fluids if vomiting.

Other tips that may help with nausea include:

  • sitting upright after eating
  • avoiding activity after eating
  • watching TV, reading a book, or talking with someone while eating as a distraction
  • eating slowly to help digestion
  • eating small amounts throughout the day
  • rinsing the mouth or brushing the teeth after eating to reduce feelings of nausea

If people continue to feel nauseated without any relief, have unexplained nausea, or are unable to eat or drink at all, they should speak to a doctor.