The article provides a guideline on foods to eat and avoid when suffering from Diarrhoea. It lists specific foods and the reasons to eat or avoid them.
Diarrhea results in excessive fluid loss and a drastic decrease of electrolyte levels in the body. It can cause serious complications if left untreated. Hence, a diarrhea diet attempts to replenish the lost fluids and essential minerals and salt through liquid diet and easy-to-digest solid foods.
• The ideal diet for diarrhea patients is popularly called BRAT and consists of Bananas, Rice (plain), Apple sauce and Toast.
• Patients suffering from diarrhea are advised to consume plenty of fluids in the form of soups and broths, mineral water and fruit juices.
• Since they are generally weak due to loss of nutrients, solid foods recommended include steamed vegetables (cooked carrots or boiled potatoes) and soft fruits that can be easily digested.
• The food should be rich in potassium and sodium as these two minerals are extremely important to restore electrolyte balance and also recover from nutritional deficiencies.
• The other diet supplements include soft bland foods (like plain cooked pasta, oat or wheat cereals without milk) as well as yogurt.
Foods to be avoided:
• Commercial soft drinks, carbonated or aerated beverages, fruit juice (undiluted form), processed cereals that are pre-sweetened should be completely avoided.
• Consuming dairy products, caffeine, sugary foods, fibrous vegetables and fruits aggravates diarrhea.
• Fatty, oily or fried food items like chips are better avoided until the diarrhea stops.
Diarrhea generally occurs due to food poisoning (contamination) or as side effects of certain kinds of medication. The body recovers within 4 – 5 days if the recommended precautions are taken.
However, there are chronic cases of diarrhea that occur due to other medical disorders like lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. The dietary requirements of these kinds of diarrhea are completely different.
For example, lactose intolerant people should completely avoid any form of dairy products while gluten intolerant individuals should avoid all foods having gluten content in them. Sometimes certain kinds of antibiotics can result in diarrhea and this is resolved by consuming probiotic yogurt with active bacteria cultures that are not harmful.
Individuals can gradually return back to their normal daily diet once diarrhea has stopped. However, it is advisable to follow certain dietary tips to prevent a relapse.
• Begin by eating soft bland foods that are easy to digest so that the bowel movements are also restored back to normal. Examples include oatmeal, plain pasta without sauces or oil, plain rice with potatoes (boiled and mashed), plain toast (without jam, butter or jelly), healthy soups, ripe bananas, plain apple sauce and dry cereals
• Refrain from chocolate, caffeine, cola or aerated drinks, alcohol, fatty, greasy or oily foods, citrus juices, vegetables that result in gastric problems (onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, corn), etc.
• Consume multiple meals in small quantities containing scrambled eggs, cooked chicken or fish (without skin, avoid frying, baking or grilling), cooked green beans and carrot, plain yogurt, cottage cheese. This would help in restoring the normal digestion process.
• Chew food well before swallowing.
• Avoid consuming milk for about 2 – 3 days and the start off with low-fat or skim milk before switching on to the other varieties.