What To Eat And Avoid When You Have Diarrhoea?


When you experience watery stools or abnormally loose stools, you are said to have contracted diarrhoea. The main causes of diarrhoea are bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, food allergies and food intolerance. People suffering from chronic digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease may experience diarrhoea on a regular basis. Whatever be the reason, it is important to seek medical help to understand the underlying cause of diarrhoea and treat it accordingly to replenish the body's nutrient and electrolyte balance.

One important thing to taken care of while having diarrhoea is what you eat. If you come to know that certain foods are causing you diarrhoea, you will have to avoid them and choose things that help soothe your stomach.

The common diet for diarrhoea is the BRAT diet which stands for bananas, rice, apples and toast. These are bland foods that will not aggravate your digestive system and help to firm up the stool.

1. Bananas
2. Rice
3. Apples
4. Toast
5. Mashed potatoes
6. Yogurt
7. Lean chicken
8. Oatmeal
9. Vegetables

Bananas are bland fruits and are easily digestible, making them a perfect choice of food when you have for an upset stomach. They are rich in pectin, a soluble fibre that aids in absorbing liquid in the intestines and thereby allowing smooth passage of the stool.

Bananas help in slowing down diarrhoea and reduces constipation at the same time. In addition, the high levels of potassium in bananas help to replace electrolytes in the body that is lost when you have diarrhoea.

Opt for white rice instead of brown rice as they are high in fibre and can make diarrhoea worse. So, plain white rice is the best choice as it's easily digestible, high in carbohydrates and acts as a binding food which aids in firming up your loose stool.

Rice also can further reduce the amount of stools and improve rehydration during diarrhoea.

Apples can also be eaten when you have diarrhoea. It is because of the soluble fibre known as pectin that absorbs excess fluid in the bowel and thus making your stool firm and easier to pass.

Eating white bread toast is another way to deal with diarrhoea. The reason is that white bread has very little amount of fibre so it is easy to digest. It soothes your stomach and the carbohydrates in it work as a binding agent making it easier for the stool to pass smoothly. Also as a spread to use on the toast, go easy on the butter, margarine, honey and jam.

Peeled potatoes are the best comfort foods for diarrhoea. When you have diarrhoea, your energy levels go down. So, consuming potatoes that are high in carbohydrates will provide your body with the required energy.

Potatoes are also rich in potassium which helps in replacing the lost electrolytes in the body. The best way to consume potatoes is to steam or boil them and adding a little salt for flavour. Avoid adding any kind of spices or oils as they will irritate your sensitive stomach and can cause cramps.

Usually when you suffer with diarrhoea, it is better to avoid any kind of dairy products. But, yogurt is an exception because it contains gut-healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Yogurt has the ability to restore the beneficial bacteria that the body flushes out with diarrhoea.

Choose plain yogurt rather than flavoured ones.

To get most of the nutrients, go for steamed white meat chicken without skin as it's a good source of protein. Just avoid using any oil or butter while cooking it. You can also opt chicken broth as it contains essential nutrients and electrolytes that can help to replace the lost nutrients and soothe your stomach at the same time.

Oatmeal is another binding food for diarrhoea. It contains soluble fibre which acts as a bulking agent for your stool when you have diarrhoea.
Consume plain oatmeal with bananas as having oatmeal with milk, sugar or honey might irritate your stomach and cause intestinal cramping.

During diarrhoea, your body requires essential nutrients apart from carbohydrates and protein. Carrots, green beans, beetroot, peeled zucchini are good to have when you have a loose stomach. They contain soluble fibre and essential nutrients that will revive your body and they are less likely to cause gas as well.

Avoid having, pepper, peas, cauliflower and broccoli as they are more likely to cause gas and harder to digest.

There are certain foods that you need to avoid to prevent prolonged diarrhoea.

1. Fatty foods
2. Milk, butter, cheese or ice cream
3. Sugary foods and artificial sweeteners
4. High fibre foods
5. Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages
6. Gas-producing foods

Fatty foods have saturated fat that can speed up intestinal contractions and can cause an adverse reaction in your stomach. These foods include fried and greasy foods, creamy foods, fatty cuts of meat, and foods which have gravy.

These dairy products contain lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. An enzyme called lactase is reduced when you have diarrhoea and therefore if you consume lactose while having diarrhoea, it will go undigested resulting in gas, bloating, nausea and prolonged diarrhoea.

Consumption of sugar may disrupt the already sensitive bacteria in the colon, thereby making diarrhoea worse. Also artificial sweeteners should be avoided as they have a laxative effect and contributes to gas and bloating while worsening diarrhoea.

So, till you recover avoid diet soda, sugar-free candy, gum, etc.

Though soluble fibre acts as a binding agent for loose stool, too much fibre can make your stomach worse and increase the symptoms of diarrhoea. Avoid consuming insoluble fibres present in foods like whole grain cereals, whole grain bread, nuts and seeds.

These foods have a GI irritant and they should be avoided when you have diarrhoea. These drinks also cause dehydration of the body which is a no-no during diarrhoea. Hydration of the body is important to replenish the lost fluids from those repeated bowel movements. So, drink plain water or coconut water instead.

Certain foods like beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, are known to cause gas which can worsen diarrhoea. So, until your stomach has settled down avoid these gaseous foods.

In addition, fruits like pears, plums, dried fruits (apricots, raisins, prunes) and peaches should also be avoided. Instead go for blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple.

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