It is best to eat thicker, bland foods, including oatmeal, bananas, plain rice and applesauce. It’s best to consume foods that that are unlikely to give the stomach too much work or be uneasy to digest. Avoid fatty foods, dairy, artificial sweeteners and old food. Toast, plain crackers, pretzels, baked chicken without skin and fat, probiotics, boiled potatoes are safe.
Having diarrhea on occasion is nothing to worry about. Diarrhea causes can range from stomach flu to a meal or just an ingredient you ate that didn’t agree with you. Because certain foods can worsen symptoms, in order to start feeling better you need to know what to eat when you have diarrhea and what not to eat. It’s best to consume plain foods that are unlikely to give the stomach too much work or be uneasy to digest. Anything that is light and bland helps well, especially in the first 24 hours.
Bland foods that you’re likely to tolerate include:
- Boiled potatoes.
- Plain crackers such as saltines.
- Baked chicken without any skin or fat.
- Yogurt and Probiotic foods.
- Foods to Avoid During Diarrhea
As important as it is to know what to eat when you have diarrhea, it is equally important to know what not to eat. Certain foods can travel through your intestines very fast and aggravate your condition, or worsen diarrhea in other ways.
These include fried foods and foods that are greasy or covered in gravy, which can make diarrhea worse.
Milk, butter, ice cream, and cheese are things you should put on hold even if your diarrhea isn’t caused by lactose intolerance (difficulty processing the sugar lactose, found in dairy products). You may be temporarily sensitive to dairy products, even if you usually have no problem with them. Probiotic-rich yogurt may be the one exception to this rule.
Alcohol and Caffeine:
When you have diarrhea, you want to avoid foods and beverages that cause you to lose fluids. Alcohol and caffeine can act as diuretics, meaning they are dehydrating.
Sorbitol/ Artificial Sweeteners:
Some people find that artificial sweeteners have a laxative effect on their digestive system. If you have diarrhea, it’s best to avoid sugarless candy and gum, diet soft drinks, and sugar substitutes.
It’s important that you eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. However, when diarrhea strikes, you want to avoid choices that are likely to increase intestinal gas, such as cabbage, beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, until you’re feeling better.
Stay away from foods that may have been mishandled, including foods that have been out of the refrigerator for too long or improperly stored. Raw meat or fish can be problematic, too. Follow the old expression, “when in doubt, throw it out,” and you may save yourself some stomach upset.
Other Diarrhea Coping Strategies
One of the more serious complications of diarrhea is dehydration. When you have diarrhea for any length of time, take steps to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- Look for liquids with sugar and salt, salt soups work well and can make you feel better.
- Stay hydrated, you should consume enough liquid so that you make plenty of clear urine. If your urine is not clear, or you are not making much urine, you are not drinking enough.
- In terms of diarrhea treatment, if you do not have an infection and are not seeing blood, you can take over-the-counter loperamide (such as Imodium, Kaopectate Caplet, and Maalox Anti-Diarrheal) to slow bowel movements. This kind of medication should only be taken for a day or two.
If diet and simple remedies don’t work and if symptoms persist for more than a few days and include bleeding, gas, and bloating, you should see your doctor. Your doctor can determine whether your diarrhea is caused by a more serious condition and recommend required treatment.
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