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How To Manage Diarrhoea (Foods To Eat and Avoid)

Diarrhoea, characterized by frequent loose or watery bowel movements, is a common gastrointestinal issue that can disrupt daily life and cause discomfort. Whether caused by infection, diet, or underlying medical conditions, diarrhoea can significantly impact one’s well-being and hydration status if not managed properly. Fortunately, with the right approach to diet and lifestyle, it’s possible to reduce symptoms and promote recovery.

By understanding how certain foods can affect digestion and adopting strategies to support the body’s recovery process, individuals can navigate episodes of diarrhoea more effectively and regain comfort and normalcy in their daily routines. Here’s a general guideline:

Foods to Eat:

  1. Bananas: Bananas are a great option for people suffering from diarrhoea as they are easy to digest and contain potassium, which is often depleted during bouts of diarrhoea. Potassium is an electrolyte that can be lost during diarrhoea, and eating bananas can help replenish lost electrolytes and maintain proper fluid balance in the body. Bananas also contain pectin, a type of soluble fibre that can help absorb liquid in the intestines and firm up stools, thereby reducing the frequency of bowel movements. They are gentle on the stomach and are generally well-tolerated by most people, even when they have an upset stomach or diarrhoea, as their bland taste and soft texture make them a soothing option for an irritated digestive system. Despite being easy to digest, bananas provide essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fibre, which can support overall health, including gut health.
  2. White Rice: White rice is a great option for those who experience stomach issues, as it is easy to digest and gentle on the stomach. Additionally, it can help bind stool due to its high fibre content, which can aid in regulating bowel movements. Another benefit of white rice is that it can absorb excess fluid in the intestines, providing some relief from diarrhoea. However, it is important to note that white rice may not provide all the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet, so it should be consumed in moderation and as part of a varied diet.
  3. Toast (White Bread): Consuming plain toast made from white bread can aid in increasing the size and moisture content of stool, making it easier to pass and reducing the risk of constipation. This is because white bread is low in fibre, which can act as a binding agent, helping to bulk up the stool.
  4. Boiled Potatoes: “This food item is easily digestible and provides an ample amount of energy to the body. The digestive system can efficiently break down this food, which allows the body to absorb its nutrients and convert them into energy. Hence, it is an ideal food choice for individuals who need quick energy or have a sensitive stomach.”
  5. Including lean proteins in your diet can be beneficial not only for providing essential nutrients but also for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Boiled chicken or turkey is a great source of lean protein as it contains a low amount of fat and is easily digestible. These proteins can help in building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting immune function. Additionally, they can also help in keeping you feeling fuller for longer periods, thus aiding in weight management. So, if you are looking for a nutritious yet stomach-friendly meal, boiled chicken or turkey can be a great option.
  6. Plain Crackers: Saltine crackers or similar types are a great option when you’re experiencing digestive discomfort. These crackers are made with simple ingredients and are easy to digest due to their low fibre content. Additionally, they don’t have any strong flavours that could exacerbate nausea or upset stomach. Therefore, they can be a great choice for a quick snack or as part of a light meal when your stomach is feeling sensitive.
  7. Clear Broth: Consuming clear broth made from chicken or vegetables can be an excellent way to stay hydrated and obtain essential nutrients. This is because broth is rich in minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes that help keep the body healthy. In particular, chicken broth contains collagen, which is a protein that supports joint health and helps boost the immune system. On the other hand, vegetable broth is a great source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body from harmful free radicals. Moreover, clear broth is easy to digest, making it an ideal choice for individuals who are recovering from an illness or surgery. Overall, incorporating clear broth into your diet can be a simple yet effective way to support your health and well-being.

Foods to Avoid:

When you’re suffering from diarrhea, there are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid to help improve your condition. Here’s a more detailed look at what to avoid:

  1. Spicy Foods: Foods that are high in spices, such as chili peppers, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce, can irritate the digestive system and make your diarrhoea worse. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid such foods.
  2. Greasy or Fried Foods: Foods that are high in fat, such as fried chicken, french fries, and pizza, can be difficult to digest and can worsen your symptoms of diarrhoea. It is best to avoid these foods.
  3. Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and other dairy products can worsen diarrhea for some people, especially those who are lactose intolerant. If you have diarrhoea, it is best to avoid these foods until your condition improves.
  4. Fatty Foods: Fatty meats, creamy sauces, and oily dressings can all contribute to diarrhoea. These foods are difficult to digest and can worsen your symptoms.
  5. High-Fiber Foods: While fibre is generally good for digestion, it can worsen your diarrhoea symptoms. Avoid whole grains, nuts, seeds, and raw vegetables until your diarrhoea subsides.
  6. Caffeine: Coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas can stimulate the digestive system and make diarrhea worse. It is best to avoid caffeine until your diarrhoea has improved.
  7. Carbonated Drinks: Carbonated drinks can contribute to gas and bloating, which can make you more uncomfortable. It is best to avoid them until your diarrhoea has subsided.

Take Home Tips

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of clear fluids like water, herbal teas, or electrolyte solutions to prevent dehydration.
  • BRAT Diet: This stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, which are all bland and binding foods that can be helpful during diarrhea.
  • Probiotics: Consider foods like yoghurt with live cultures or probiotic supplements to help restore healthy gut bacteria.

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