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What to eat when you have diarrhea: The best foods for diarrhea

Nobody likes having diarrhea, but there are some foods and tips that can help.
/ Source: TODAY

It may not be the most glamorous topic, but it is one worth discussing because, it happens to all of us. Diarrhea. Just reading the word can make you cringe but the next time you find yourself spending more time on the toilet, you’re going to wish you read this. So, let’s discuss.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be caused by many different reasons including a viral infection, a bacterial infection, food poisoning, medication, a food allergy or a food intolerance. Often it is acute and lasts a few days. When it is chronic and persists it is often related to a more serious gastrointestinal disorder.

What to eat when you have diarrhea:

The last thing many people want to do when they have diarrhea is eat, but if you let a couple of hours go by, you will get hungry and you will want to eat. And, your body needs fuel to recover too.

The go-to advice for diarrhea is the BRAT diet:

  1. Banana
  2. Rice
  3. Apples (or applesauce)
  4. Toast

These foods are gentle on the stomach due to being bland. In other words, they shouldn’t upset the digestive system and they will also help bind and firm up stool. You can also add in plain crackers and cooked cereal such as cream of wheat.

Don't forget to drink water!

When you have diarrhea, you also have to remember to hydrate. You are losing lots of fluids and replenishing your body is critical. Coconut water, bone broth or any clear broth and ginger tea work well. And of course, rest up and see your physician if symptoms persist, or if you have a high fever.

What not to eat when you have diarrhea:

Other foods to make sure you avoid when you have diarrhea are spicy foods, citrus, greasy fatty food, meat, raw veggies, fruit, alcohol and artificial sweeteners.

Your overall diet can greatly affect when and how often you have diarrhea. You may want to consider following a low FODMAP diet as a remedy. The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono- saccharides and polyols. I know, much easier to simply say FODMAP. Let’s stick with that!

FODMAPs are difficult to digest carbohydrates that can cause a whole host of gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation in the millions of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The reason you may just want to give it a go if you’ve been suffering from chronic diarrhea is that studies show that up to 75 percent of IBS sufferers find relief when following a low-FODMAP diet.

You may also want to consider taking a probiotic. Your intestines are filled with millions and millions of “good” bacteria and they are super important for healthy digestion. Diarrhea can throw your gut bacteria out of balance and probiotics (good bacteria) can help to keep your gut healthy especially after a bout of diarrhea. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or starting a probiotic.