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Foods to Eat to Stop Diarrhea

written by: Margo • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 1/28/2010

When you have a case of diarrhea, the last thing you're thinking about is eating, but some foods can actually help you feel better. There are several foods to eat to stop diarrhea; learn about them here.

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    The BRAT Diet

    The most well known grouping of foods to eat to stop diarrhea is the BRAT diet. These four foods can help to settle your stomach and quickly put an end to your digestive woes. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are mild enough to be easy on your stomach. The plainer you can make these four foods, the better they can work. Bananas that aren't overripe (they should still be firm) will provide more help than soft, riper bananas. Rice should be white; brown rice will be harder for your stomach to digest. Applesauce that is unsweetened and plain (without cinnamon) will work better than the flavored varieties, and the toast should be plain. Even added butter can further upset your stomach.

    Besides being mild-flavored, the BRAT diet works well because it is very low in fiber. Fiber makes the body work harder at digestion, which can further aggravate an already struggling digestive system. It is also low in sugar and fat, both of which can irritate your stomach when you are suffering from diarrhea.

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    Other Helpful Foods

    Foods to eat to stop diarrhea also include items that are high in starch. These foods will help to bind your stools, making them more solid and stopping the diarrhea. High starch foods include items like boiled potatoes, the toast and rice mentioned above, and plain pasta. Cooked carrots also help to stop diarrhea.

    Hard boiled eggs are sometimes suggested as a cure for diarrhea, as has been oatmeal and warm tea, such as chamomile or mint teas. Baked chicken, with the skin and fat removed, may also help to stop loose bowel movements. Cold cereals that are low in sugar can be eaten, without milk, to stop diarrhea, as can cooked cream of wheat cereal.

    Yogurt should also be introduced after your stomach can handle some of the other foods. Yogurt is an active-culture food, meaning that it has live bacteria in it.This bacteria, most notably Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptoccus thermophilus, helps to replace the helpful bacturia that normally lives in your stomach. Diarrhea removes this bacteria, and the yogurt replaces it, which can keep the diarrhea from returning.

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    Tips to Consider

    Don't force foods, even if they are meant to help your condition, until after the stomach has calmed slightly. Foods to eat to stop diarrhea should be introduced slowly, starting with very mild flavored foods. Take a few bites, and see how your stomach reacts before eating more. As your stomach adjusts to the food, feel free to slowly start adding in more flavorful foods, as long as they don't contain excess sugar, fats, or fiber. Depending on the severity of the diarrhea, it may take some time before you are ready to return to your regular diet.

    It is important to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea. Even a sip of water every few minutes can help to prevent dehydration. After the diarrhea has passed, drink extra water, pedialyte, or other fluids that have electrolytes added for hydration purposes.

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    References

    National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House: Diarrhea. Accessed from: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#treated

    The BRAT Diet: BRAT Diet- Treatment for Diarrhea. Accessed from: http://brat-diet.com/

    Aids.org: Diarrhea. Accessed from: http://www.aids.org/factSheets/554-Diarrhea.html

    Medical Food News: Yogurt- A Milk Product with More. Accessed from: http://www.medicinalfoodnews.com/vol02/issue5/yogurt