Diet for Diarrhea – Foods to Eat and Avoid during Diarrhea

Diarrhea is fairly common and nothing to be frightened of (Image via Pexels @Andrea Piacquadio)
Diarrhea is fairly common and nothing to be frightened of. (Image via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)

Going through a bout of diarrhea? Choosing the right foods can help. Diet and diarrhea are inextricably related, whether the cause is allergies, food poisoning, chronic illness like irritable bowel syndrome, or something else. Even if you have long-term digestive issues, the diet you eat can have a significant impact on your level of comfort.

There are specific things you can eat when you have loose motions to help your digestive system get back on track. You should also avoid eating certain foods. To learn what you should and should not eat, read on.

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is characterized by bowel movements that have a loose texture or are more liquid than solid. It's generally more common in those with chronic digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease.

Diarrhea is fairly common and nothing to be worried about: it happens to most people two to three times a year. It can be triggered by having too much food, or even excessively fatty or spicy food.

It generally goes away on its own without medication, but there are medicines available for it. Other symptoms like cramps, abdominal bloating, pain, a gassy feeling, the need to defecate more frequently, nausea and vomiting are common accompaniments.


What foods and drinks to have when you have diarrhea?

When you have diarrhea, the foods you consume and avoid can make a big difference in how quickly you recover.

If you're wondering what is the BRAT diet, it's one that helps you recover from loose motions. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, apples and toast - all high fiber foods and starchy foods that absorb water and help to firm up your stool.

One other benefit is that these foods are bland in nature and will not further irritate or aggravate your digestive system. If you're looking for more food options, try adding boiled potatoes, unseasoned wholewheat crackers, cooked cereal, applesauce and soda crackers to your diet.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids as well, a syou will be losing fluids through your stool.


What foods and drinks to avoid when you have diarrhea?

When suffering from a bout of loose motions, you need to avoid foods that can trigger a reaction in the digestive system. As a rule of thumb, avoid anything fatty or spicy.

If you need a list of foods to avoid, check it out below.

  • Fatty meat
  • Processed food, especially those with preservatives
  • Sardines
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, soda, and other caffeinated drinks
  • Fruits with a high concentration of Vitamin C in them (pineapples, berries, grapes)

What can be the treatment of diarrhea?

Remember that if you can consult a doctor, do. If not, you may try eating the above mentioned foods and check to see if your condition improves in a while. If there's no improvement, try OTC drugs, and if your body still doesn't respond to the treatment, don't hesitate to visit a doctor.

Anti-diarrheal drugs, such as Pepto-Bismol, are available over the counter and can help halt or delay loose motions. If the condition is caused by parasites or a bacterial infection, you will need to take antibiotics. However, as soon as your antibiotic course is over, you might want to start having probiotics.

By reintroducing beneficial bacteria into the digestive tract as soon as possible after taking antibiotics, probiotics can help reduce unpleasant antibiotic effects. That can also aid in the prevention of future instances of loose motions.

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Edited by Bhargav