How To Eat When You Have Diarrhea

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Diarrhea is a common digestive problem that can cause discomfort and inconvenience. When you have diarrhea, it’s important to adjust your diet to help alleviate symptoms and promote recovery. Knowing how to eat when you have diarrhea can be helpful in reducing the severity of your symptoms and preventing dehydration. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to eat when you have diarrhea.

Foods that can be consumed when experiencing diarrhea are as follows:

  • Bananas
  • Rice (porridge, pilaf)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Toast or white bread
  • Boiled chicken or fish
  • Boiled vegetables (carrots, potatoes, zucchini)
  • Foods containing probiotics such as yogurt and kefir
  • Gluten-free grains (quinoa, oats, rice bran)
  • Liquid foods (strained soup, vegetable juice)
  • Juicy fruits (watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe)

It is important to avoid spicy, greasy, fibrous, caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary foods and drinks, as well as processed foods and carbonated drinks when experiencing diarrhea. Additionally, consuming adequate amounts of fluid and washing your hands is important. If you experience severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or a fever, it is important to consult your healthcare provider.

Step 1: Increase Your Fluid Intake

One of the most important things you can do when you have diarrhea is to increase your fluid intake. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can make symptoms worse and lead to other health problems. You should aim to drink at least eight to ten cups of fluid per day, including water, herbal tea, and clear soups. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, as they can worsen diarrhea.

Step 2: Stick to a BRAT Diet

A BRAT diet stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods are bland and easy to digest, making them a good choice for people with diarrhea. They also provide important nutrients that can help promote recovery. Other bland foods that can be included in a BRAT diet include boiled potatoes, plain chicken, and crackers.

Step 3: Incorporate Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. When you have diarrhea, your gut microbiome can become imbalanced, which can worsen symptoms. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet can help restore balance to your gut microbiome and reduce diarrhea. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

Step 4: Avoid Foods That Worsen Diarrhea

Some foods can worsen diarrhea and should be avoided. These include spicy foods, fatty foods, dairy products, and foods that are high in fiber. These foods can irritate the digestive system and make diarrhea worse. It’s also important to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks, as they can cause dehydration.

Step 5: Eat Small, Frequent Meals

When you have diarrhea, your digestive system is already stressed. Eating large meals can make symptoms worse and cause discomfort. Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help reduce stress on your digestive system and promote recovery.

Step 6: Stay Hydrated

As mentioned earlier, dehydration can worsen diarrhea and lead to other health problems. In addition to drinking fluids, you can also stay hydrated by eating foods that have a high water content. Examples of hydrating foods include watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Step 7: Cook Foods Thoroughly

When you have diarrhea, your immune system is already weakened. Eating undercooked or raw foods can increase your risk of foodborne illness, which can make symptoms worse. Make sure to cook your foods thoroughly and practice good food safety habits, such as washing your hands before preparing food.

Step 8: Gradually Resume Your Normal Diet

As your symptoms improve, you can gradually resume your normal diet. However, it’s important to do this slowly and carefully. Start by adding in bland, easy-to-digest foods, and gradually introduce more complex foods over time. This can help prevent a recurrence of diarrhea and promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What should I drink when I have diarrhea?

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids, including water, herbal tea, and clear soups. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, as they can worsen diarrhea.

What should I avoid eating when I have diarrhea?

Foods that can worsen diarrhea include spicy foods, fatty foods, dairy products, and foods that are high in fiber. It’s also important to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks, as they can cause dehydration.

Is it safe to eat fruits and vegetables when I have diarrhea?

While fruits and vegetables can be healthy, they can also be difficult to digest when you have diarrhea. Stick to bland, easy-to-digest foods like bananas, rice, and applesauce, and gradually introduce more complex foods over time.

Should I take probiotic supplements when I have diarrhea?

While probiotic supplements can be helpful in restoring balance to your gut microbiome, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. They can recommend a specific probiotic supplement that may be beneficial for you.

How can I prevent dehydration when I have diarrhea?

Drink plenty of fluids, including water, herbal tea, and clear soups. You can also eat foods that have a high water content, like watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, as they can cause dehydration.

How long should I stick to a BRAT diet when I have diarrhea?

It’s best to stick to a BRAT diet for 24-48 hours, or until your symptoms begin to improve. After that, you can gradually introduce more complex foods over time.

Can I eat dairy products when I have diarrhea?

Dairy products can be difficult to digest when you have diarrhea, so it’s best to avoid them until your symptoms improve. Once your symptoms improve, you can gradually introduce dairy products back into your diet.

Is it safe to eat raw or undercooked meat when I have diarrhea?

No, it’s not safe to eat raw or undercooked meat when you have diarrhea. Make sure to cook your foods thoroughly and practice good food safety habits, such as washing your hands before preparing food.

Are there any supplements that can help with diarrhea?

Certain supplements, such as probiotics and psyllium husk, may be beneficial in managing diarrhea. However, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

When should I see a healthcare provider for diarrhea?

If your diarrhea persists for more than a few days, or if you experience severe symptoms like bloody diarrhea or fever, it’s important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can help determine the underlying cause of your diarrhea and recommend appropriate treatment.


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