Food to Eat After Diarrhea

Diarrhea--or loose, frequent stools--generally occurs as a symptom of another medical condition. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the most common causes of diarrhea include bacterial infections, viral infections, food intolerances, certain medications and intestinal conditions or disorders. Although high-fat, fiber-rich and dairy-containing foods may exacerbate diarrhea, other foods can help alleviate symptoms and support recovery. If your symptoms are severe, long-lasting or accompany other symptoms, seek guidance from your doctor.

A slice of toasted bread. (Image: David Pimborough/iStock/Getty Images)

Broth-Based Soups and Juices

Diarrhea rids the body of essential fluid. Thus, replenishing fluids is a primary goal of diarrhea treatment. The Mayo Clinic suggests clear fluids, such as broth, water and juices during and immediately following bouts of diarrhea for rehydration. If you feel up to eating solid foods, soups containing bland vegetables and/or chicken breast can add helpful nutrients and protein, which supports lean tissue repair and energy. Clear juice varieties include apple juice, white grape juice and light cranberry juice. To create a milder-tasting juice, combine equal parts water and juice.

Bland Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can support your body's recovery and help prevent further infections and disease. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse suggests bland fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, cooked carrots and mashed potatoes during your initial recovery period. As your symptoms improve, gradually increase your portions sizes and frequency of these foods. Other bland fruit and vegetable options include steamed cauliflower, cooked peas, unsweetened applesauce, banana and/or berry smoothies and pureed squash or potatoes. All-fruit frozen bars provide a valuable hydrating option, particularly if your appetite is decreased and/or you have lost substantial amounts of fluid.

Low-Fiber Foods

In some cases, high-fiber foods, such as whole-grain breads, cereals and legumes, exacerbate diarrhea symptoms. To prevent these potential triggers the Mayo Clinic suggests semi-solid foods with low fiber content, such as soda crackers, toasted white bread, eggs/egg whites, white or instant rice or chicken. Low-fiber hot cereal, made from rice, and plain cooked grits are also options. If you opt for chicken, choose skinless white meat portions, since dark meat and poultry skin contain added fat and flavor. Do not add toppings, such as peanut butter, butter, meat or cheese, to toast or crackers, or spicy seasoning or rich sauces to chicken or rice. Once you feel ready to revert to a fiber-rich diet, do so gradually so that your body has time to adjust.

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