Rice is a healthy food for people with bowel problems, although the type of rice you should eat depends on your particular medical issue. For example, chronic constipation sufferers benefit from high-fiber rice, while those with inflamed intestines or inflammatory bowel disease need low-fiber options. Your specific medical concerns will dictate whether you should eat white, brown or wild rice.
Brown rice and wild rice are both high-fiber foods. Fiber is important to digestive health because it moves through your digestive system without being broken down. The fiber makes your stool more bulky and easier to get out of your body, which wards off constipation.
Most people need fiber to keep their digestive systems healthy, but some conditions require a low-fiber diet. Too much fiber is bad for people with enteritis, which is an inflammation of the intestines, or those who are having flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease, the Mayo Clinic advises. White rice is low in fiber because it is a processed food. This rice is appropriate for these bowel problems, and also for people who are recovering from recent bowel surgery. White rice is also bland enough to eat during diarrhea attacks. You risk irritation or obstruction of your digestive tract if you eat too much fiber when you are having bowel problems.
Other Fiber Options
Brown rice and wild rice are not the only good dietary fiber sources. Whole grain bread, bran, legumes, citrus fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and air-popped popcorn also provide a lot of fiber. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 to 38 daily grams of fiber for men and 21 to 25 grams for women to support good digestive functioning.
Other Low-Fiber Options
White rice is a good low-fiber food that does not irritate inflamed bowels, but you also have many other food options. You can eat plain pasta, white bread, eggs, smooth peanut butter, low-fiber cereals, yogurt, cheese and tender meat products, according to the Mayo Clinic. Only eat raw fruit that has no membranes, and always remove the skin. Cook vegetables thoroughly, and make sure to choose options with no skins, hulls or seeds. Rice makes a good side dish for many of these other acceptable foods.
You can add brown rice, wild rice and other fiber-rich foods back into your diet slowly once your bowel inflammation eases or your recovery from surgery is complete, according to the Mayo Clinic. Talk to your doctor about the proper pace at which to reintroduce high-fiber items.