Occasional diarrhea is a common condition and is not a cause for concern. However frequent bouts of diarrhea requires attention and treatment. Most of the time diarrhea is caused either by food poisoning or food intolerance, therefore it is important to identify the foods that cause diarrhea.
On the other hand, there are foods that stop diarrhea. So the best strategies to deal with diarrhea should be food based, but understanding what to eat and what not to eat during diarrhea becomes critically important.
Some people are afraid to eat anything because they fear eating will further deteriorate their diarrhea. It is far from the truth. In fact, the very first thing you should do is to drink water with electrolytes to replenish the electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea.
A simple mix of salt in water can provide enough hydration instantly. Add half a teaspoon of rock salt and juice of half a lemon to a glass of water. Stir and mix them well before drinking it. If required drink more quantity of this drink. If you do not have rock salt readily available, then use sea salt. Rock salt contains a lot of minerals, including potassium and magnesium in addition to sodium, whereas sea salt only contains sodium.
Commercially available electrolyte sachets can be procured from the nearby pharmacy shop for even better results. The important thing is to re-hydrate and restore electrolytes as soon as possible.
1. Foods to Eat to Stop Diarrhea
BRAT diet has been scientifically tested low fiber diet for diarrhea. BRAT stand for Bananas, Rice (White Rice) , Applesauce and Toast. Though high fiber diet is good for general well being , a low fiber diet is a necessity in diarrhea. The objective of a low fiber diet is to firm up the watery stools. Banana, rich in potassium helps to replenish lost electrolytes. Dates, mint leaves, lemon, carrots and pomegranate are other fruits and vegetables are other foods that can be used as diarrhea remedies.
In order to meet the dual objective of replenishing the electrolytes lost and remain hydrated, you need to drink lots of fluids and eat foods that agree with the system to get other required nutrients to remain healthy.
Therefore, make it a routine of drinking and eating as two separate events. You can have following drinks and foods to replenish lost electrolytes
- Sports drinks
- Boiled Mashed Potato
Sports drinks will replenish both Sodium and Potassium, whereas Banana, Nectar and Potatoes add potassium.
Following low fiber foods will help you to firm up stools
- White bread
- Cottage Cheese
- Grape Juice
If you have lactose intolerance then avoid yogurt.
2. Foods to Avoid in Diarrhea
There are many food items that should be completely avoided to stop diarrhea. If you eat them they will promote diarrhea. On top of the list are all the healthy high fiber foods. Stop them for a period of diarrhea. You can start eating after your diarrhea is cured.
- All Fruit juices containing fructose
- Cabbage family vegetables
- Wholemeal breads
- Dried Beans
- Coffee and Tea - all caffeine containing beverages
- Alcohol - all kinds of alcohol containing drinks
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Milk products
- Any other food product that you are aware of causes loose motion in your specific case
Once you have taken special precautions of what foods to eat and avoid during diarrhea and ensured that you are fully hydrated, then depending on the severity of diarrhea you may recover from it within a day to a week.
If you diarrhea is caused by bacterial infections or amoebiasis then you will have to get medical treatment. In any case it is a good practice to make a visit to your doctor if your diarrhea is not stopped within a couple of days.