Diarrhea is a common problem affecting people of all ages. It is a condition that occurs when the digestive system is not functioning correctly, resulting in frequent loose and watery bowel movements. Some people may experience diarrhea due to an underlying health issue, while others may have it due to something they ate or drank. Whatever the reason may be, knowing what to eat when you have diarrhea is critical to avoid making it worse and to speed up the healing process.
7 Foods to Eat When You Have Diarrhea: A Comprehensive Guide
When you have diarrhea, eating the right foods is essential as it can help replenish lost electrolytes and provide your body with the necessary nutrients to fight the infection. Here are seven foods that you can eat when you have diarrhea:
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which is an essential electrolyte that the body loses during diarrhea. It is also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps reduce diarrhea and regulate bowel movements.
To consume bananas, you can eat them plain, mashed, or blended into a smoothie. You can also mix bananas with other fruits, such as blueberries or strawberries, to create a delicious fruit salad.
White rice is an excellent source of starch, which helps to solidify stool and regulate bowel movements. It is easy to digest, making it an ideal food to eat when you are experiencing diarrhea.
To prepare white rice, follow the cooking instructions on the package. You can also add salt or butter to enhance the flavor.
Applesauce is rich in pectin, similar to bananas, and can be helpful in reducing diarrhea. It is also easy to digest, making it an ideal food when you are experiencing symptoms of diarrhea.
To consume applesauce, purchase plain, unsweetened applesauce from the store or make it at home by blending cooked apples until smooth.
Broth-based soups, such as chicken noodle soup, are an excellent source of fluids and electrolytes, which your body loses during diarrhea. The chicken in the soup provides an excellent source of protein that your body needs to boost its immune system.
To prepare broth-based soups, simmer chicken or vegetable broth, add vegetables or noodles, and season with salt and pepper as required.
Boiled or Baked Potatoes
Boiled or baked potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and are also rich in potassium, which you lose during diarrhea. Potatoes are also easy to digest, making them perfect for individuals experiencing diarrhea.
To prepare boiled or baked potatoes, boil or bake the potatoes until tender, remove the skin, and serve.
Lean proteins, such as baked chicken, turkey, or fish, are essential to your body to recover from diarrhea. They provide your body with the necessary nutrients such as protein and vitamin B12, which you lose during diarrhea.
To prepare lean proteins, bake or grill chicken, turkey, or fish. You can also season it with herbs and spices, such as rosemary or thyme.
Yogurt contains probiotics that help promote the production of healthy gut bacteria, which is essential for digestive health. Greek yogurt is a good option as it is low in sugar and higher in protein compared to regular yogurt.
To consume yogurt, plain Greek yogurt is preferred, and you can also add honey or fresh fruits for added flavor.
The BRAT Diet: Is It the Best Choice for Diarrhea Relief?
The BRAT diet is a traditional diet that is often recommended for people with diarrhea. The diet primarily consists of bland, low-fiber foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. The diet is believed to be beneficial in reducing gastrointestinal distress and easing nausea.
While following the BRAT diet can help reduce diarrhea symptoms, it is not a balanced diet and should only be followed for a short period to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Instead, you can follow a more diverse diet that contains foods such as lean proteins, whole-grain bread, and healthy fats that provide your body with the necessary nutrients to recover.
5 Foods to Avoid When You Have Diarrhea
Consuming the right foods is essential when you have diarrhea, but equally essential is avoiding foods that can worsen the symptoms. Here are five foods to avoid during diarrhea:
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and ice cream, can irritate the digestive system and worsen diarrhea symptoms. They are challenging to digest and can lead to further stomach discomfort.
Fatty foods, such as fried foods, high-fat meats, and rich desserts, can be challenging to digest and can make diarrhea worse.
Spicy foods, such as hot peppers and chilli, can irritate the digestive system and lead to further diarrhea symptoms.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can stimulate the gastrointestinal system and increase bowel movements, leading to more severe diarrhea symptoms.
Sugar-Free Foods that Contain Sorbitol
Sugar-free foods that contain sorbitol, such as sugar-free gum and candies, can cause diarrhea symptoms in some individuals.
Easy-to-Digest Foods That Can Help Relieve Diarrhea
Eating foods that are easy to digest can help relieve diarrhea symptoms and reduce bowel movements. Here are some easy-to-digest foods that you can eat when you have diarrhea:
Clear soups, such as chicken noodle or rice soup, are easy to digest and are an excellent source of fluids and electrolytes that your body needs during diarrhea.
Toasted bread is easy to digest and can provide your body with the necessary carbohydrates to regulate bowel movements. You can also add a spread such as peanut butter or honey for added flavor and nutrition.
Oatmeal is rich in fiber and can help regulate bowel movements. It is also easy to digest, making it a perfect food to eat during diarrhea.
Diarrhea and Probiotics: How They Can Help Your Gut Health
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your digestive system. They help replenish the good bacteria that your body needs to fight off infections and regulate bowel movements. Here are some probiotics you can consume:
Yogurt contains live cultures that promote the production of healthy gut bacteria, which helps boost the immune system and regulate bowel movements.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is rich in good bacteria, probiotics, and essential nutrients that help promote digestive health.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated When You Have Diarrhea
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can lead to complications such as dry skin, headaches, and dizziness. It is crucial to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea to avoid these symptoms. Here are some ways to stay hydrated:
Drinking water is the simplest way to stay hydrated, and you should aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Electrolyte drinks, such as sports drinks or coconut water, can help replenish your body’s electrolytes that you lose during diarrhea.
Natural Remedies for Diarrhea: Herbal Teas and More
Herbal teas can help relieve diarrhea symptoms and promote digestive health. Here are some natural remedies that you can try:
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the digestive system, easing diarrhea symptoms.
Peppermint can help relax the muscles in the digestive system, reducing diarrhea symptoms, and promoting healthy bowel movements.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm the digestive system, reducing diarrhea symptoms.
Diarrhea can be a debilitating condition, but knowing what to eat and what to avoid can help you recover quickly. A balanced and diverse diet that consists of lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables is crucial to maintain a healthy digestive system. Additionally, staying hydrated, consuming probiotics, and trying natural remedies can help relieve diarrhea symptoms. If symptoms persist, it is essential to seek professional help to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.