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What to Eat Following Diarrhea

by
author image Erica Wickham, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
Erica Wickham covers health, exercise and lifestyle topics for various websites. She completed an internship in dietetics and earned a Master of Science in dietetics from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. Wickham now serves as a registered dietitian.
What to Eat Following Diarrhea
Some foods are easier on the digestive system than others. Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Diarrhea is often a symptom of other medical conditions and is relatively common. It is characterized by loose, watery stools and may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, food intolerances, food poisoning, certain medications and other gastrointestinal disorders. Most cases of diarrhea last a couple of days and go away without treatment. After an attack of diarrhea, your diet should focus on replacing fluid and electrolyte losses, avoiding certain foods that can make diarrhea worse and including foods that are easy to digest.

Bananas

The best foods to eat after a bout of diarrhea are soft, easily digested, high carbohydrate foods such as bananas. Bananas are rich in fiber, which helps rid your body of disease-causing toxins. They are a bland food, so they are easy on the digestive system. Bananas are also rich in potassium, an electrolyte that is often depleted during bouts of diarrhea. Eat them whole or mashed if desired.

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Oatmeal

Oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool. Eating oatmeal soothes your stomach, adds fiber to your diet and helps stop diarrhea. It is calming after an attack of diarrhea. Top with sliced banana for a nutritious meal.

Applesauce

Apples are packed with nutritional benefits, especially after an attack of diarrhea. They are excellent for cleansing your digestive system and detoxifying your body. Rich in fiber, apples have antioxidant power to fight infection and promote optimal health. While apples may be harsh on the stomach, eating applesauce is a great way to ease the stomach and reap all the benefits of apples. Sprinkle some cinnamon in a small cup with applesauce. Avoid drinking apple juice, as it may worsen your diarrhea.

Crackers, Rice and Toast

Gradually add semisolid foods back into your diet as your diarrhea subsides and your bowel movements return to normal. Eating foods such as plain toast, white rice and saltine crackers will provide your body with the energy it needs to recover. Additionally, if you have excess stomach acid, these will help soak it up once digested in the stomach. Eating plain crackers, rice and toast can sooth your stomach and help prevent further bouts of diarrhea.

Broth and Soup

While water is important after diarrhea to prevent dehydration, it does not contain electrolytes. Good choices to help maintain your electrolyte levels include broths or soups that contain sodium. Chicken broth is light, nutritious and gentle on your digestive system. You can buy chicken broth, use bouillon cubes or make your own homemade soup. Any of these will be warm and comforting.

Liquids

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, the loss of vital fluids and electrolytes. It is important to drink clear liquids, even if it is small sips. Good choices include plain water, soft drinks like ginger ale, sports drinks that contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, juices other than apple or pear, broths and soups, gelatin and herbal teas with honey or freshly squeezed lemon. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can make your diarrhea worse.

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