8 healthy foods to stop diarrhoea and improve gut health

Diarrhoea is a condition that occurs when your stool becomes watery and loose. Add these 8 foods for diarrhoea to reduce the number of times you go to the bathroom.
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Aayushi Gupta Published: 14 May 2024, 12:00 pm IST

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On good days, you probably do not think twice to satisfy your food cravings. But when things go awry, it is crucial to first correct your diet, especially if you are dealing with diarrhoea or loose motion. Diarrhoea is when you experience loose, watery stools and feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom multiple times a day. It may bring along symptoms such as cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and in severe cases, fever. While it is often manageable at home, diarrhoea may need medical attention if it persists beyond a day or two. We listed a few foods for diarrhoea that can help manage this digestive problem.

Foods for diarrhoea

When it comes to recovering from diarrhoea, you should choose simple and bland foods that are easy on your stomach and can be digested easily. Here are 7 foods to stop diarrhoea:

1. BRAT diet

The BRAT regimen, an acronym for banana, rice, applesauce, and toast, is often suggested for individuals experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort like vomiting, diarrhoea, or gastroenteritis. According to Nutritionist Dr Rohini Patil, “The idea behind this diet is to give your gut a chance to rest and decrease stool production.” Here’s how these foods can help reduce diarrhoea:

Bananas: Bananas are a go-to fruit for managing diarrhoea as they are gentle on the stomach. They are easy to digest and rich in potassium, which helps replenish electrolytes lost through diarrhoea. The pectin in bananas can also help bulk up stools.
Rice: Choose white rice over brown rice to manage diarrhoea. White rice is low in fibre and easier on your stomach than high-fibre foods such as brown rice. You may also drink rice water, as it helps replenish lost fluids and electrolytes while providing a gentle source of energy.

Rice can help manage diarrhoea or loose motion. Adobe Stock

Applesauce: Like bananas, applesauce is part of the BRAT diet and is easy to digest. It provides a source of soluble fibre and natural sugars, which can provide energy without irritating the stomach.
White toast: Plain white toast is bland and easy to digest, making it a suitable food for calming an upset stomach. It can be paired with a small amount of jelly, honey, peanut butter, or applesauce.

2. Lemonade

Homemade lemonade made with fresh lemon juice, water, and a touch of sugar or honey can be the best drink you may try during diarrhoea. Lemon is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can soothe painful intestines. While it might not stop diarrhoea, the acidity of lemon juice may help balance the pH levels in the digestive tract, easing cramps and bloating.

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Also read: 5 healthy drinks to manage diarrhoea or loose motions

3. Coconut water

Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes like potassium and sodium, making it an excellent choice for rehydration during diarrhoea. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, coconut water rehydrates your body and reduces symptoms of diarrhoea. It’s also low in sugar and easily tolerated by most people, even those with sensitive stomachs.

4. Electrolyte water

Keeping your body hydrated during and after diarrhoea is crucial. While water is the best way to restore lost fluids, electrolyte solutions such as oral rehydration solutions (ORS) can help greatly in treating diarrhoea and vomiting. They can help replenish sodium, potassium, and other essential electrolytes.

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5. Probiotics

According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, probiotics can make diarrhoea go away about one day faster. Probiotic-rich foods contain certain lactic acid bacteria that can help restore the balance of gut flora, stopping diarrhoea. Yoghurt, Kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are some best probiotics you may eat.

Add probiotics to your diet to safeguard your digestive health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Broths and soups

“Broth-based soups made from chicken, beef, vegetables, or lean proteins can provide much-needed hydration and electrolytes while being gentle on the digestive system,” explains Dr Patil. Choose low-sodium and low-fat options and avoid adding excessive spices that could irritate the stomach.

7. Low-fibre foods

While fibre is known to promote better digestion, high-fibre foods during diarrhoea can make it worse. So, choose a low-fibre diet that includes foods such as white rice, pasta, and crackers until symptoms improve.

8. Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are a bland yet filling option that provides a good source of carbohydrates for energy. “They are easy to digest and provide potassium, an electrolyte that’s lost through diarrhoea,” says the expert. Be sure to peel the potatoes to remove any rough skins that may be difficult to digest.

5 tips to manage diarrhoea

  • Drink plenty of fluids, including water, electrolyte solutions, and clear broths, to prevent dehydration caused by fluid loss.
  • Steer clear of spicy, greasy, or high-fibre foods that can exacerbate diarrhoea and worsen symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, soda, and other caffeinated or carbonated drinks.
  • Give your body time to recover by getting plenty of rest and avoiding strenuous activities that may aggravate symptoms.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating and after using the restroom, to prevent the spread of germs and infections.

While diarrhoea can be serious and may need medical attention, it can be treated easily with medication and home remedies. So, do try these remedies if you are struggling with diarrhoea.

Aayushi Gupta

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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