Foods for Diarrhea: What you Should Eat and Avoid

Foods For Diarrhea

It can be a subject that many avoid, but the truth of it is, at one time or another, you’ve probably had diarrhea. It’s not fun, and depending on how bad it is, it has the potential to cause other health problems. So, when that time comes and you get hit by diarrhea, you may have a few questions such as, “What can I eat to stop my diarrhea?” Or, “Does the BRAT diet work?” The good news is, we’ve done some of the legwork for you and looked at what foods stop diarrhea. So, here is a list of good foods for diarrhea and what foods you should avoid. We also provide a general guideline of ways you may be able to stop diarrhea.

Foods for Diarrhea: What to Eat

When suffering from diarrhea, one of the more nerve-racking things is trying to figure out what you can eat. You don’t want to eat anything that will make things worse or set off an attack, but you do need to eat something. So, what do you eat if you are suffering from diarrhea? As it turns out, a time-honored food set for diarrhea is still a good way to go.

BRAT Diet

Growing up, you may remember hearing about something called the BRAT diet. It’s been used for decades as the food guide when you have diarrhea. BRAT stands for banana, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods have certain properties that make them ideal for dealing with diarrhea.

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All the BRAT foods tend to be inoffensive to an upset stomach—they are bland and easily digested. Bananas, rice, and applesauce are good for helping stool bind and become more solid.

Toast brings in carbohydrates that can help add a bit of bulk to your stool. The potassium content of bananas helps prevent dehydration. Beyond the BRAT foods, there are many other food items that are good for diarrhea.

Related: Some Alternatives to BRAT Diet

Yogurt

Yogurt has a good dose of probiotics. The probiotic nature of this cultured dairy product can add good bacteria to the stomach, and help reset it from whatever caused the diarrhea in the first place.

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Carbohydrate-Rich Foods

Plain crackers and pasta are also good. So are boiled potatoes, as they probably won’t upset your stomach and will still provide some nutrients for the body. It’s also a very good idea to drink lots of water. Depending on how severe your diarrhea may be, you may become dehydrated, so keeping your fluids up can help prevent that.

Carrot and Ginger Juice

Related: 15 Benefits of Carrot Juice

These root vegetable are alkaline in nature, and loaded with vitamins and minerals required by the body. Carrot has a good amount of fiber. Ginger, on the other hand, helps curb the symptoms of an upset stomach, such as nausea and vomiting. Fresh carrot and ginger juice may help cure diarrhea.

Since we’ve covered the foods that will help you out in your time of diarrhea, we must also cover the foods that you should avoid. There are many food items that are not a good idea to eat when having these issues.

Foods to Avoid When Suffering from Diarrhea

When talking about your diarrhea diet, it is very important to avoid certain foods. These foods can exacerbate symptoms and issues that come with diarrhea, and generally make a bad situation worse.

Fatty Foods

You want to avoid fatty and greasy foods as they can keep stool from solidifying.

Dairy

While we recommended yogurt with probiotics as a food you should eat, the rest of the dairy family should be avoided, as those food items may make you temporarily lactose-intolerant.

High-Fiber Foods

High-fiber foods should be avoided at the beginning of the illness, as fiber can help stimulate stool production—and that’s the last thing you want. That being said, fiber can also help bind stool. So, you may want to slowly introduce fiber back into your diet at a later stage of the illness.

Foods that can cause you to have excess gas such as beans, corn, and cruciferous vegetables, should also be avoided. They not only tend to be good for fiber, but the excess gas may lead to bloating. Highly caffeinated foods and drinks should be avoided as well, since they can relax the bowel muscles.

Dietary Guidelines: Foods to Stop Diarrhea

Diarrhea foods to eat and avoid can be a little confusing at times. Hopefully, the chart below will help you make sense of it, and keep you on the path of recovery. Here’s a quick dietary guideline for diarrhea.

Harmful Foods Helpful Foods
Greasy foods (greasy and fatty foods may worsen symptoms) Foods high in pectin (can help solidify stool)
Fast food High-protein foods
Caffeinated foods Non-caffeinated drinks and liquids (these liquids will keep you hydrated without aggravating your stomach more than it currently is)
Whole grain breads (the fiber can help stimulate the gastrointestinal tract to generate more waste) BRAT diet foods
Dairy products (whatever is causing your diarrhea may also cause you to be temporarily lactose-intolerant) Yogurt

Remember to keep yourself hydrated and pay attention to your illness. If things get really bad, consult a doctor to know the best way to handle the situation, or if you should be seeking medical attention.

Eat the Right Foods and Be Careful

Unfortunately, getting diarrhea is part of life. Whether it be from the flu, a viral infection, or some bad seafood, you are bound to get it at least once or twice in a year. The most important things are to make sure you keep your fluids up and eat foods that won’t aggravate the illness. If you aren’t sure about what’s causing your diarrhea, or it persists for more than two days, consult a doctor.


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Sources:
“Diarrhea Diet: What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat,” Mercola, http://articles.mercola.com/diarrhea/diet.aspx
“Mom’s Advice Is Still the Best for Treating Diarrhea,” Cleveland Clinic, December 24, 2014; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/moms-advice-is-still-the-best-for-treating-diarrhea/