What to Eat When You Have Diarrhea: Tips & Insight

what to eat when you have diarrhea
13 min reading time

Dealing with diarrhea can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but managing the condition is essential to avoid dehydration and other potential complications. While certain medications can help ease symptoms, adjusting your diet can contribute significantly to your recovery. In this section, we’ll provide essential tips and insights on what to eat when you have diarrhea, remedies for diarrhea, and fluid intake for diarrhea management.

Key Takeaways

  • Adjusting your diet can contribute to managing diarrhea symptoms and promoting a speedy recovery.
  • Proper fluid intake is essential to avoid dehydration during diarrhea episodes.
  • The BRAT diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast is a go-to option for diarrhea relief.
  • Avoiding certain foods that can worsen diarrhea symptoms is crucial for a speedy recovery.
  • Natural remedies such as ginger, probiotics, and herbal teas can help ease diarrhea symptoms.

The BRAT Diet: A Go-To Option for Diarrhea Relief

If you’re experiencing diarrhea, one of the first things your healthcare provider may recommend is the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet consists of bland foods that are gentle on the digestive system: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Why these foods? Bananas are high in potassium, which can help replace electrolytes lost due to diarrhea. Rice, particularly white rice, is easily digestible and can help bulk stool. Applesauce provides essential vitamins and minerals while being easy to digest, and toast can help settle the stomach.

While the BRAT diet is a good starting point, it’s important to note that it lacks certain nutrients. It’s best to add in additional foods to provide a more balanced diet. Some options include:

CrackersCan provide relief from nausea and settle the stomach
Boiled potatoesContain potassium and are easy to digest
Banana smoothie with Greek yogurtProvides protein, probiotics, and additional electrolytes

Remember to avoid spice, fatty, and acidic foods, as well as dairy and caffeine, as these can worsen diarrhea symptoms.

While the BRAT diet can help alleviate diarrhea symptoms, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting adequate nutrition. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about the duration or severity of your diarrhea.

Hydration is Key: Fluid Intake for Diarrhea Management

One of the most crucial aspects of managing diarrhea symptoms is maintaining proper hydration. When experiencing diarrhea, the body loses a significant amount of fluids, making it essential to replenish them regularly.

Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is vital for preventing dehydration and aiding in recovery. It’s recommended to consume at least eight glasses of water a day, especially during episodes of diarrhea. Other fluids such as clear broths, sports drinks, and herbal teas can also be helpful.

However, it’s important to avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks that can irritate the digestive system and worsen diarrhea symptoms. Carbonated beverages should also be avoided due to their high sugar content and potential to cause gas and bloating.

If you’re having trouble keeping fluids down, try taking small sips of water or sucking on ice chips. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your urine color and frequency as well. Dark urine or infrequent urination may indicate dehydration, and you should consult a healthcare professional.

Along with fluids, certain remedies can help manage diarrhea symptoms. Over-the-counter medications such as loperamide can help reduce diarrhea episodes, but it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before taking any medication.

Natural remedies can also be effective, such as probiotics and ginger. Probiotics can help replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut, while ginger can soothe the digestive system and reduce inflammation. Herbal teas such as chamomile and peppermint can also help alleviate stomach discomfort.

In summary, staying properly hydrated and incorporating effective remedies are crucial in managing diarrhea symptoms. It’s essential to consume fluids regularly and avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks that can worsen symptoms. Natural remedies such as probiotics and ginger can also be useful in aiding recovery.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Diarrhea

While certain foods can be beneficial during episodes of diarrhea, others can worsen symptoms and should be avoided. Steering clear of these trigger foods can aid in managing your condition and promoting a speedy recovery.

what to avoid when you have diarrhea

What Not to Eat When You Have Diarrhea

Some foods to avoid when you have diarrhea include:

FoodWhy to Avoid
Spicy FoodsCan irritate the digestive tract and worsen diarrhea
Fried and Fatty FoodsCan be difficult to digest and exacerbate diarrhea
Dairy ProductsLactose intolerance can cause diarrhea, and dairy products can worsen symptoms
Sugar-Free Gum and CandyContaining artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol or xylitol can have laxative effects and worsen diarrhea
Caffeine and AlcoholCan dehydrate the body and worsen diarrhea symptoms

Eliminating these foods from your diet can help manage diarrhea symptoms. However, it’s important to note that every individual’s triggers may be different. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary and note which foods worsen your symptoms to avoid them in the future.

Next, we’ll explore natural remedies for easing diarrhea symptoms and promoting digestive health.

Natural Remedies for Diarrhea Relief

While dietary changes can be effective in managing diarrhea, natural remedies can also aid in alleviating symptoms. Here are some options:

  1. Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve nausea and vomiting. It can be consumed as tea or added to meals as a spice.
  2. Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of gut microbiota and improve digestion. They can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or taken as supplements.
  3. Herbal teas: Chamomile tea can have calming effects on the digestive system, while peppermint tea can relieve bloating and cramps. Both teas can be consumed warm or cold.

It’s important to note that natural remedies may not work for everyone and should be used with caution. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a chronic medical condition, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any new remedies.

The Role of Fiber in Managing Diarrhea

Fiber is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in maintaining digestive health. It promotes bowel regularity, prevents constipation, and supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria. However, when it comes to diarrhea, the role of fiber can be complicated.

While some high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help bulk up loose stools and improve diarrhea symptoms, others can worsen them. Insoluble fiber, found in foods like nuts, seeds, and bran, can be irritating to the digestive tract and exacerbate diarrhea symptoms.

So, what’s the verdict on fiber when it comes to managing diarrhea? It depends on the type and severity of your symptoms.

If you’re experiencing mild to moderate diarrhea, adding soluble fiber to your diet can be beneficial. Soluble fiber, found in foods like oatmeal, bananas, and sweet potatoes, is easier to digest and can help absorb excess water in the gut, leading to firmer stools.

Foods High in Soluble FiberServing SizeFiber Content (g)
Raw oats1/2 cup4.0
Applesauce1/2 cup1.0
Acorn squash1 cup2.0

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing severe diarrhea or have an underlying digestive condition like inflammatory bowel disease, it’s best to avoid high-fiber foods altogether. Instead, focus on easy-to-digest foods like white rice, boiled potatoes, and cooked carrots.

It’s also essential to increase your fluid intake when consuming high-fiber foods to prevent dehydration. Drink plenty of water, clear broths, and herbal teas throughout the day to stay hydrated and support your digestive system’s healing process.

Ultimately, fiber can be both a friend and foe when it comes to managing diarrhea. Pay attention to your symptoms and consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

Other Foods and Supplements That Promote Digestive Health

Beyond the BRAT diet, there are various other foods and supplements that can help reduce diarrhea symptoms and boost digestive health. Here are some options to consider:

Food/SupplementPotential Benefits
YogurtYogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help balance the gut microbiome and aid in digestion. Look for plain, unsweetened yogurt without any added fruit or sugars.
Bone BrothBone broth is rich in nutrients like collagen and amino acids, which can help soothe gut inflammation and promote healing. Additionally, the broth can help rehydrate the body and provide a source of easily digestible nutrients.
HerbsSome herbs, such as peppermint and chamomile, have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate diarrhea symptoms. You can incorporate these herbs into your diet in the form of teas or supplements, but consult with your healthcare provider first to ensure they’re safe for you to consume.

It’s essential to remember that everyone’s digestive system is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Before incorporating any new foods or supplements into your diet, consult with a healthcare provider to ensure they’re safe and appropriate for you. Additionally, keep in mind that these foods and supplements should complement a well-rounded diet focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods.

what to eat when you have diarrhea

Practical Tips for Preventing and Managing Diarrhea

Dealing with diarrhea can be uncomfortable and disruptive to your daily routine. While you can’t always prevent it from happening, there are practical tips and lifestyle changes you can implement to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Here are some remedies for diarrhea:

Follow a Diarrhea Diet

One of the most effective ways to manage diarrhea is by following a diarrhea diet. This means avoiding foods that can trigger symptoms, such as spicy or fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Instead, focus on bland and easily digestible foods, such as the BRAT diet. Be sure to also include foods rich in electrolytes, such as bananas and avocados, to aid in hydration and replenish lost nutrients.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is crucial when dealing with diarrhea. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, such as water, herbal tea, and clear broths. Avoid sugary or carbonated drinks, as these can worsen symptoms. If plain water is unappealing, try adding a slice of lemon or a splash of fruit juice for flavor.

Avoid Certain Medications

Some medications can exacerbate diarrhea symptoms. If possible, avoid medications like antibiotics, laxatives, and antacids unless prescribed by a healthcare professional. If you are unsure if a medication may be contributing to your symptoms, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Prioritize Hand Hygiene

One of the easiest ways to prevent diarrhea is by prioritizing hand hygiene. Be sure to wash your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food. Use soap and warm water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying thoroughly.

Meal Plan and Portion Control

Meal planning and portion control can also aid in managing diarrhea symptoms. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to help with digestion and avoid overloading the digestive system. Plan meals in advance to ensure a balanced and diarrhea-friendly diet, and avoid eating large meals or heavy snacks before bedtime.

Take Care of Yourself

Finally, make sure to take care of yourself during episodes of diarrhea. Get plenty of rest, avoid strenuous exercise and activities, and consider taking over-the-counter remedies like probiotics or ginger capsules to aid in digestion. If your symptoms persist or worsen, be sure to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Diarrhea Symptoms

In most cases, diarrhea can be managed with dietary changes and natural remedies. However, there are certain symptoms that may indicate a more severe underlying condition and require medical attention. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to seek prompt care:

  • Diarrhea lasting longer than two days
  • Severe abdominal or rectal pain
  • High fever (above 101.3°F)
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, dry mouth, or dark urine

If you have a weakened immune system, are pregnant, or have an underlying health condition, you may also be at a higher risk for complications from diarrhea. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment recommendations. In some cases, medication or medical procedures may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and address the underlying cause of your diarrhea.


Dealing with diarrhea can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but by following a few simple guidelines, you can manage your symptoms and promote healing.

Remember to eat foods that are easy to digest and avoid those that can aggravate your symptoms. The BRAT diet is a great option, but you can also add other foods that provide additional nutrients and flavor. Hydration is also key; make sure to drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost due to diarrhea.

There are also natural remedies that can help ease your symptoms, such as ginger and probiotics. Don’t forget the role of fiber in managing diarrhea, but be careful not to overdo it.

By making some practical changes to your lifestyle, such as frequent hand-washing and meal planning, you can also prevent future episodes of diarrhea. And remember, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional.

Take care of yourself!


How can I manage my diarrhea symptoms?

In addition to eating the right foods, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid foods that may aggravate your symptoms. You can also try natural remedies like ginger, probiotics, and herbal teas to help alleviate diarrhea.

What fluids should I drink when I have diarrhea?

It’s crucial to maintain proper fluid intake when you have diarrhea. Stick to clear liquids such as water, herbal tea, and electrolyte solutions to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages as they can worsen your symptoms.

What foods should I avoid when I have diarrhea?

Certain foods can worsen diarrhea symptoms and should be avoided. Stay away from spicy, fatty, and greasy foods, as well as dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol. These can irritate your digestive system and make your symptoms worse.

Are there any natural remedies for diarrhea relief?

Yes, there are natural remedies that can help ease diarrhea symptoms. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, probiotics restore healthy gut bacteria, and herbal teas like chamomile can soothe your digestive system.

How does fiber play a role in managing diarrhea?

While fiber is known for aiding digestion, it can have different effects when dealing with diarrhea. In some cases, soluble fiber can help bulk up your stool, while insoluble fiber may exacerbate symptoms. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional about incorporating fiber into your diet.

Are there any other foods or supplements that can promote digestive health during diarrhea?

Alongside the BRAT diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, you can consider incorporating yogurt, bone broth, and certain herbs like mint or chamomile. These foods and supplements can provide additional support to your digestive system.

What are some practical tips for preventing and managing diarrhea?

To prevent and manage diarrhea, practice proper hand hygiene, ensure food is stored and prepared safely, and avoid consuming foods that may trigger your symptoms. Additionally, meal planning and taking probiotics regularly can help support your digestive health.

When should I seek medical attention for diarrhea symptoms?

While most cases of diarrhea can be managed at home, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience severe dehydration, bloody stools, persistent high fever, or if your symptoms last longer than a few days. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

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