Along with proper rest, sleep, and hydration, nutrition plays an important role in recovering from diarrhea. Deciding what to eat and what not to eat during a bout of diarrhea can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several foods that will support your body and help restore gut health as quickly as possible.
First, as with any illness, if you don’t feel hungry, there is no need to force yourself to eat. A lack of hunger is the body’s natural response to certain types of illness, so simply focusing on staying well-hydrated and incorporating some basic broths and soups is perfectly fine for both children and adults.
Top 5 Foods to Eat When You Have Diarrhea
If you are feeling up to eating, you’ll generally do best sticking with foods that are low in fat and insoluble fiber (the type of fiber found in veggies and fruits), and foods that aren’t overly spicy. Most people find they feel much better sticking with bland foods when they have diarrhea.
Bananas are high in potassium, which is a key electrolyte lost when you have diarrhea. This tasty fruit also contains resistant starch, which is a type of starch that helps your body form short-chain fatty acids which stimulate sodium and fluid absorption. Proper fluid absorption during diarrhea is key as the body rids itself of fluids and nutrients which can lead to dehydration.
Unsweetened applesauce contains a compound called pectin, a type of soluble fiber that works as a prebiotic in your gut. It has been shown to boost the amount of bifidobacteria which supports the gut in calming inflammation, which in turn decreases intestinal permeability and fluid loss.
Both bone and vegetable broth can be very supportive and nourishing when you have diarrhea. If you can’t keep anything in due to diarrhea, broth is a very easily digestible food that provides amino acids that can help to heal the gut, support proper digestion, and boost the immune system so you get better faster.
Like broth, soups offer a powerhouse of nutrients that are more easily digested than raw foods. It’s best to wait on soups and stews until your body is ready for more solid foods, so begin with broth and progress to broth with cooked vegetables or meat.
A soup prepared in a slow-cooker will provide tender, gentle foods for healing your digestive tract. Avoid making your soups too spicy, but adding a bit of fresh or powdered ginger can be settling for the stomach.
Unsweetened, natural coconut water is an excellent natural electrolyte replenisher, and is especially high in magnesium and potassium. Alternate it or mix it with pure water and sip throughout the day as a replacement for commercial sports drinks, which are full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners.
What Not to Eat
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and fruit juices, as these can worsen your symptoms. It’s also best to avoid fatty, greasy, and spicy foods, as all these can be irritating to the digestive tract. Stick with nutrient-dense foods that are simple and easy to digest.
You may also consider keeping extra support on hand, such as DiaResQ, a food for special dietary use that can help restore normal intestinal function quickly and effectively. A unique combination of nutrients and immune factors, DiaResQ helps support your body during diarrhea and is safe for both children and adults.