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Best Food for Diarrhea: What is Good to Eat and Not Eat?

Best Food for Diarrhea: What is Good to Eat and Not Eat?

Diarrhea is often identified with loose or watery stools thrice or more times a day due to water passing through the body too quickly. This can be caused by a myriad of things. It can be caused by medication, food sensitivity, infections, stress, and even treatments involving radiation such as chemotherapy. Anyone who’s ever had it will tell you how much of an inconvenience of a couple of days can be. One of the most common ways to manage this is to eat accordingly. And by that, we mean eating low fiber food which is the best food for diarrhea.

Low fiber food

Low fiber food is generally what you need when you are suffering from cramps, gas, and bowel movement that is too frequent. Because these are things that come with diarrhea, this is a go-to for helping manage its symptoms.

A good rule of thumb is to have a maximum of 13 grams of fiber per day. Opt out of any high fiber food and replace them with substitutes with lower fiber content.

BRAT diet

The BRAT diet is believed to be the best food for diarrhea. This stands for bananas, white rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet works because all of these food items are low in fiber. In addition, the potassium content in bananas and multivitamin content in applesauce help the body to recover faster.

These nutrients help replenish those lost due to diarrhea. According to experts, you could also add oatmeal, peeled potatoes, or skinless chicken to mix it up.

Grains

When dealing with diarrhea, opt-out of any added fiber by choosing white flour-based carbohydrates, sticking to white rice instead of higher-fiber variants, and limiting bran, buckwheat, almond or soy flour, and whole wheat or whole-grain options.

Making “lugaw” or Chinese congee is also a good way of getting in enough carbohydrates without having to think about cutting down on fiber.

Fruits

Though fruits are usually good for you on normal days, most fruits are high in fiber so it’s best to have smaller portions of relatively low-fiber fruits like apricots, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew melons, peaches, pineapples, and watermelons.

Try to stay away from unpeeled apples, avocados, berries, dates, oranges, pears, and prunes.

Vegetables

Contrary to popular belief, cooking a vegetable does not lower its fiber content. This means that cooking high-fiber vegetables like artichoke, broccoli, carrots, beans, skin-on potatoes, pumpkin, and rhubarb do not make them any better for you when you have diarrhea. So it’s best to stay away from them entirely.

Eating small portions of bean sprouts, green beans, onion, radish, beets, lettuce, peppers, and peeled vegetables like eggplant, squash, tomatoes, and zucchini should be fine!

Dairy

When you have diarrhea, your body often finds it hard to digest lactose which is present in milk. In addition to this, it’s also possible that your diarrhea is caused by an intolerance to it. This means that when trying to manage diarrhea, it’s best to avoid dairy as much as you can.

If you can handle low-lactose dairy products like live-culture yogurt and cheese, you can incorporate them into your diet.

Fat and Caffeine

Both fat and caffeine are bad for loose stools so this means that you need to avoid drinking full-fat milk and caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, and soft drinks. It’s better to turn to low-fat or non-fat, decaf, and sugar-free alternatives when picking your beverages and avoiding fatty, fried, or greasy food when picking your meals.

Water and Supplements

Since your body is processing fluid too fast, not enough of it is being stored to actually hydrate your body. Rehydration is important when dealing with diarrhea because your body will need more water to store what it needs. If your diarrhea is caused by infections, taking probiotics with the recommendation of a health expert could help you recover faster.

Reminders

Whether you stick to BRAT or make your own food, the best food for diarrhea is one that keeps your body healthy and replenishes what your body loses. We hope this guide helps you cook, eat, and pick your food to help you recover faster!

Learn more about Special Diets here.

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Sources

Health Facts – Nutrition, https://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/nutrition/323.pdf, Accessed May 15, 2021

When You Have Diarrhea, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000121.htm, Accessed May 15, 2021

Low Fiber Diet for Diarrhea, https://www.oncolink.org/support/nutrition-and-cancer/during-and-after-treatment/low-fiber-diet-for-diarrhea, Accessed May 15, 2021

Diarrhea and Diet, https://badgut.org/information-centre/health-nutrition/diarrhea-and-diet/, Accessed May 15, 2021

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Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos Updated May 16
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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