6 Foods to Eat and Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

Suffering from a bad case of diarrhea can put a damper on your usual activities. Until you have fully recovered, you won’t be able to go out of your house since you need to go to the bathroom several times during the day or even within the same hour.

The fact that you don’t know when you have to go to the toilet and if there is one near you when you feel the urge can easily ruin your plans of going out if you have this illness.

Recovering from this gastrointestinal disease quickly, therefore, should be your primary goal if you want to go back to your regular activities as soon as possible. Aside from taking the medications your doctor prescribed and following his or her instructions, you can get better faster by eating the right foods and avoiding a few ones.

Below is a list of the foods you should eat more of and ones you should avoid when you have diarrhea:

What to Eat

1. Probiotic-rich foods

Probiotics, or the good live bacteria and yeasts, can help your digestive system in various ways when you have diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases. This is the main reason why many doctors recommend taking probiotics for adults.

Probiotic-rich foods and supplements reduce the number of bad microorganisms in your gut which are often present when you have diarrhea caused by bacteria or a virus.

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Probiotics also help restore your intestinal flora, which can support your body’s recovery faster. Additionally, these microorganisms aid in producing substances that hinder the growth of more harmful bacteria.

Aside from taking a supplement, you can get more probiotics by eating these foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

2. Bananas

This fruit, which many consider healthier than apples, should be in your diet when you have diarrhea.

Bananas are rich in potassium, a vital electrolyte that may become low in your body when you have diarrhea. When you are deprived of this substance, you tend to feel exhausted quickly and frequently.

Additionally, bananas are excellent sources of pectin, a soluble fiber. This nutrient will help your intestines absorb liquid better, thereby keeping it hydrated and preventing constipation once you have recovered.

Bananas are also bland and easy to digest. As such, they can help settle an upset digestive system.

3. Low-fiber vegetables

When you have diarrhea, a diet rich in high-fiber foods won’t do anything good for you since they may make your bowels looser when you need them to be firmer.

Because of this, skip the high-fiber vegetables for now and opt for low-fiber ones. This means eating more carrots, beetroots, asparagus tips, string beans, and white potatoes. However, make sure these veggies are diarrhea diet-friendly options by peeling them, removing the seeds, and cooking them.

Additionally, season them lightly. If you can eat them bland and unseasoned, do so since this will be better for your digestive system.

What to Drink

Dehydration is a side-effect of diarrhea that you should avoid at all costs. You can do this by drinking more water, which will enable you to stay hydrated. It will also help flush out the toxins from your body.

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You can also drink coconut water and sugar-free herbal teas since they can keep you hydrated and soothe your upset stomach.

What Not to Eat

1. High-fat foods

Fatty foods, such as pizza, French fries, doughnuts, and other fried fare have high-fat content that can speed up intestinal contractions. Eating more of them when you have diarrhea can cause you to take more trips to the toilet.

Aside from fried foods, avoid dishes with gravy and fatty cuts of meat even if you cook them using healthy prep methods.

If you are looking for alternatives to fatty foods, opt for lean protein such as the white meat of chicken or turkey and light soups and broths.

2. Dairy products

With the exception of probiotic-rich yogurt, avoid milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products when you have diarrhea.

When you have diarrhea, your body has lower amounts of lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose, the sugar component found in dairy products. If this substance is undigested, it can aggravate your diarrhea and cause other symptoms such as bloating, nausea, and excessive flatulence.

Even if you are not lactose intolerant, for a speedier recovery, avoid dairy products temporarily.

3. Foods that cause intestinal gas

Some healthy and unhealthy foods can cause you to pass gas more frequently, which will cause you discomfort and aggravate your diarrhea. If you want to beat this illness quickly, avoiding these is a must.

Examples of foods that cause gas are:

  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Dried fruits
  • Peaches
  • Pears

What Not to Drink

When you have diarrhea, avoid alcohol and caffeinated and carbonated beverages. These drinks can irritate your gastrointestinal tract, which will do nothing good for your symptoms.

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Also, avoid sugary drinks such as boxed fruit juices and shakes since they contain high amounts of sugar that are hard to digest. They can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, too.

When you select the right probiotic and modify your diet to make it diarrhea-friendly, you will avoid suffering too long from the symptoms. You will speed up your recovery and get back into the swing of things faster as well.