Gastroenteritis is a broad medical term that covers the stomach flu, general inflammation of the digestive tract and food poisoning. As the body fights off the infectious disease, consuming a diet that is bland and promotes bulk-forming stools can help ease your symptoms. Yogurt is a food that is commonly recommended to treat gastroenteritis, according to the Virginia Tech website. Yogurt contains live and active cultures that may help shorten the duration and severity of diarrhea and other gastric symptoms. Talk with your doctor before using any food to treat a medical condition.
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Gastroenteritis is commonly known as an upset stomach. The condition can be caused by eating a food that is contaminated with bacteria, drinking water that has parasites in it or through contact with someone who has a viral infection. Most cases of gastroenteritis are not treated with medication, but rather diet modification. Certain types of food poisoning that are bacterial in nature may be treated with prescribed antibiotics. The Cleveland Clinic recommends the avoidance of using anti-diarrhea medications if you have gastroenteritis as they may worsen your condition.
Yogurt for Immune Health
The live and active cultures used to make yogurt help boost the immune system, which helps the body fight off infection. The healthy bacteria found in yogurt also help stimulate the production of white blood cells that help fight infection. Yogurt used to boost the immune system should be low in fat and not contain high levels of sugar. Purchase organic, low-fat plain yogurt for the best results.
Healing the Intestines
Some forms of gastroenteritis can damage the lining of your intestines, leaving you with symptoms even after the infection is killed. Some people may develop temporary lactose intolerance because of the damage. According to AskDrSears.com, research indicates that children who are recovering from an intestinal infection develop less severe symptoms if they eat yogurt during and after the infection. Eating yogurt also helps maintain the proper amount of healthy bacteria in the intestines that many antibiotics destroy.
Not everyone can eat yogurt during gastroenteritis. You may not be able to tolerate any food in your stomach during the illness, or you may have a medical condition that prohibits you from consuming milk products. You can purchase the live and active cultures found in yogurt in a supplement form that is dairy and lactose-free.