What are the best foods for a sensitive stomach? It depends—here’s why

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on February 11, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Do you frequently experience digestive issues after eating certain foods—making you feel like you have a “sensitive stomach”? If so, you might want to know if there are any foods for a sensitive stomach that you should be eating.

That’s what we’ll cover here—so continue reading to learn what a “sensitive stomach” is, related symptoms, and what to do if you're wondering what foods for a sensitive stomach you should eat.

Do you want to check how your body responds to 96 different foods? The Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test allows you to collect your own blood sample at home, send it to a CLIA-certified lab for testing, and receive your digital results in days. This could give you a better understanding of your body’s immune response to certain foods, which can help guide a temporary elimination diet to discover your food sensitivities.

What is a “sensitive stomach”?

While “sensitive stomach” is not an official medical term, it’s commonly used to describe digestive issues that often occur after eating certain foods—such as abdominal pain or bloating. Your digestive system plays an important role in transforming the food you eat into the nutrients your body needs to live and thrive. So when you experience unpleasant symptoms after eating certain types of foods, it may be a sign that your body is reacting negatively to those kinds of food. For example, you may be intolerant or sensitive to the “trigger” food under consideration.

Before we dive deeper into the topic of foods for a sensitive stomach, let’s first take a look at some of the possible symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a sensitive stomach?

Stomach issues can show up in many different ways, but here are several common symptoms that are associated with having gastrointestinal distress:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excess gas
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Note that any of the symptoms on this list could very well be your body’s response to another underlying issue. If you regularly experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

What can you eat if you have a sensitive stomach?

When it comes to addressing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, there are many different possible dietary approaches—both short-term and long-term—a healthcare provider may recommend. It all depends on the root cause of your symptoms.

For example, for some people—such as those experiencing acute diarrhea, nausea, or related symptoms—a low residue diet (also known as a “bland diet” or “GI soft diet”) may be appropriate. (In this kind of diet, the emphasis is on eating cooked foods that are easy to digest, have a soft consistency, and are low-fiber. Possible examples include eggs, cream of wheat, fruit juices, and tofu.)

On the other hand, among some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a low FODMAP diet might be recommended. (In a low FODMAP diet, the focus is on reducing one’s intake of “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.” That’s a phrase that describes certain kinds of carbohydrates that can be hard for the small intestine to absorb, such as lactose and various artificial sweeteners like sorbitol.)

As you can see from the examples above, the best kinds of food for a sensitive stomach depend on why you’re experiencing certain GI symptoms. For this reason, it’s important that your diet is individualized to you—and speaking with your healthcare provider (like a registered dietitian and/or gastroenterologist) about your symptoms is one of the best steps you can take.

Want to find out if the foods you are eating could be the cause of some of your unpleasant symptoms? Find out how your body responds to 96 different foods with the at-home Food Sensitivity Test or 204 different foods with the Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test. After you collect your sample at home, you mail it to a certified lab for testing and receive your results digitally in a few days. From there, your results could help inform a temporary elimination diet and add-back challenge to identify possible problematic foods in your own diet.

Why does almost everything I eat upset my stomach?

If you frequently experience discomfort and stomach issues after eating, this could also mean you have a food intolerance—such as lactose intolerance (when your body cannot fully process the sugar in milk and dairy products)—or some other condition you should be aware of.

Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider if this sounds similar to what you’re going through. Keeping a food journal may also be helpful in identifying problematic foods in your diet. Take note of everything you consume throughout the day and how you feel after eating. Learn more about how to keep a food journal and download our food tracker PDF template.

Ready to learn more about which foods in your diet could be potentially causing you discomfort? Take the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test and measure your body’s IgG antibody reactivity to 96 foods without having to leave your home. If you want to test a broader set of foods, our Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test allows you to test your immune system's IgG reactivity to 204 foods. Your test results could serve as a guide for a temporary elimination diet with an add-back challenge to help you find out what foods you may be sensitive to.

All Everlywell tests allow you to collect your own sample from the comfort of your home, mail it to a CLIA-certified lab for testing, and receive your digital results in days. From there, you may follow-up by attending an informational webinar and sharing your results with your healthcare provider.

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1. The Sensitive Gut. Harvard Health Publishing. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

2. Bland Diet. StatPearls [Internet]. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.

3. Algera J, Colomier E, Simrén M. The Dietary Management of Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Narrative Review of the Existing and Emerging Evidence. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2162. Published 2019 Sep 9.

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