If you have diarrhea, you may be wondering what kinds of food are safe and soothing for an upset digestive system. The trick is not to avoid food altogether but to consume certain foods that help in slowing things down.
Experts no longer believe that the BRAT diet is the diet of choice for those suffering from diarrhea as it is too restrictive. Additionally, the BRAT diet may not be a good idea if your diarrhea is caused by irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
Keep in mind though that if your diarrhea lasts more than two days or is very severe, it might be caused by an underlying problem and you should immediately talk to your doctor about it. Here are foods you should eat when you have diarrhea.
A good choice for settling your upset digestive system are bananas as they can be easily digested as well as bland in flavor. Bananas also have high levels of potassium which can help in replacing the electrolytes lost during bouts of diarrhea. As a bonus, bananas are also packed with pectin, a soluble fiber that helps absorb liquid inside the intestines, thus slowing down diarrhea and reducing constipation.
7) White Rice
High in carbohydrates and easily digested, plain white rice is also binding, which means that it helps firm up your loose stool. Be sure that you eat your rice plain or cooked in chicken broth. Also avoid oily, fatty, spicy or dairy-based sauces as those does not go well with diarrhea.
6) White bread, Pasta or Pancakes
Although whole wheat is generally healthier, it is advised that you eat white bread and other white flour based food like pasta and pancakes during a bout with diarrhea as they have very little fiber and thus easier to digest. Go easy on the jam, butter, margarine, honey or syrup as too much sugar and fat is bad when you have diarrhea. For pasta, avoid sauces that are milk based, oily or spicy.
5) Mashed Potatoes
Another great comfort food during a bout with diarrhea are potassium-packed potatoes. Although potato skins are nutritious, you should probably stay away from them when you have diarrhea. You can boil, steam or microwave your peeled potatoes. A dab of salt is fine but stay away from too much gravy, sour cream, butter or margarine.
4) Lean Meat or Steamed, Broiled or Baked Chicken
Due to its blandness and soft texture, steamed, baked or broiled chicken can be easily digested and is also a rich source of protein, making it another great food option for diarrhea sufferers. Just remember to keep things simple and avoid adding butter or oils when cooking the chicken. If you don’t have chicken, lean cuts of beef, fish, pork or turkey are also acceptable.
Although it’s common knowledge to avoid most dairy products when dealing with a bout of diarrhea, yogurt is an exception to this rule. Go for those yogurts that contain live lactobacillus acidophilus or bifidobacterium bifidum. Avoid yogurts that have high levels of sugar or artificial sweeteners as those can contribute to loose stools and excessive intestinal gas.
2) Chicken Broth
Sipping chicken broth can help replace those nutrients and electrolytes you have lost during your episodes of diarrhea. The warm broth will also soothe and comfort your sore stomach as well.
It is important to include vegetables in your diet as it will provide the much needed nutrition your body needs while it is dealing with diarrhea. Just make sure that you do not include the skins and the seeds before cooking them. Avoid vegetables that are harder to digest and likely to cause gas like cauliflower, broccoli, corn, green leafy vegetables and peppers.