Do you know diarrhea disease in India is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old? Diarrhoea defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual) can last several days and can leave the body without the water and salts that are necessary for survival. It usually occurs due to some bacterial or viral infection of the intestinal tract.
During the episode of diarrhea one should be cautious on what to have and what not to because there are some food items which are likely to be beneficial for you while on the other hand, certain foods may worsen up your symptoms. To help you choose the right food items will help you avoid your “run to the loo” parade and eventually help you to get your digestive system back on track.
Say YES to the following items
A key to prevent your digestive system from overworking is to eat many small meals throughout the day. The list mentioned here may not be a feast but these food items are easy on your stomach. You must go for plain, simple and less spicy foods, especially during the first 24 hours.
1. Rehydration Solution
Oral rehydration solution is a safe, less expensive, and easy alternative to intravenous fluids. Oral rehydration solution (ORS) contains glucose (a sugar) and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) that are lost during vomiting and diarrhea especially in children. If needed, ORS can be given in frequent, small amounts over three to four hours.
If a person is unable to drink or vomits immediately after drinking ORS should be monitored closely for worsening dehydration and it should be brought to medical attention immediately. Also, once any dehydration is treated with drinks, encourage your child to eat as normally as possible.
2. B.R.A.T : Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. These food items are bland and thus does not aggravate your digestive system. Moreover, they help in binding and firming up your stools.
3. Potassium and sodium-rich foods: Foods such as bananas and boiled potatoes which are rich in potassium and sodium-rich foods such as for regaining your electrolyte balance which gets disturbed due to diarrhea due to a great loss of fluid from the body.
4. Probiotics: Probiotics such as yogurt (plain and not those with excess added sugar). They improve the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. In addition, they may shorten the duration of the bout of diarrhea (by about 12 to 30 hours).
5. Hot cereals: Well-cooked hot cereals such as oatmeal(salted, without milk), light rice and moong dal khichdi with a pinch of turmeric and salt.
6. Liquids: They help in preventing dehydration and replacing the lost minerals and electrolytes. Although drinking plenty of water is necessary, you should also opt for different sources of electrolytes and minerals such as:
– Coconut water, electrolyte water,
– Clear broths like that of chicken without any grease can also be rewarding.
– Carrot soup with a hint of garlic has been seen to be beneficial in diarrhea as garlic aids digestion and carrot soup supplies water to combat dehydration, replenishes lost minerals. It also checks the growth of bacteria and prevents vomiting.
– Juices permitted are of orange, tomato and pomegranate only(in small quantities)
– Drinking sips of ginger-infused water with some raw honey has been observed in some cases to soothe the stomach.
Once dehydration is treated with drinks, try to eat as normally as possible.
Zinc supplementation has been found to reduce the duration and severity of episodes of diarrhea and likelihood of subsequent infections for 2–3 months. It is of great benefit for children as it is a vital micronutrient. A study has shown that a combination of zinc and probiotic therapy has been more effective in reducing the severity of acute diarrhea as well as vomiting in children.
Say NO to the following items
Some foods are known to trigger your digestive system and exacerbate diarrhea. These include:
1. Fatty foods: Foods such as fried foods, those that are greasy or covered in gravy, and fatty meats. High-fat content can speed up intestinal contractions and have a negative impact on the system that is already sensitized. In addition, they may also cause bloating.
2. Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, butter, ice cream, and cheese should be avoided. Diarrhea reduces the amount of the lactase enzyme required by your body to digest lactose that is present in dairy products. It is a good idea to avoid these products for a while because if lactose goes undigested, it can further worsen diarrhea and can even lead to bloating and nausea.
3. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks: These drinks act as a dehydrating agent which can add on to the already dehydrated state of your body.
4. Vegetables and fruits that cause excessive gas such as cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, pears, plums, peaches, dried fruits (apricots, raisins, prunes), all fruit juices should be avoided during loose motions. Skip them till you feel better.
5. Spicy foods should be avoided as they can serve as irritants for your digestive system.
6. Foods with artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes like sugarless candy and gum, and diet soft drinks. They can have a laxative effect and may also cause bloating.
7. Processed and packaged foods.
So, if you have diarrhea, always remember to CHOOSE YOUR DIET WISELY; one that can help in improving your condition.