Good Fruits for Diarrhea and Bowel Disorders is a compilation of the best fruits for diarrhea and bowel disorders. Fruits are one of the most ancient food available to humans. Fruits, like avocado, banana, strawberries, mango and kiwi are a good source of nutrients. Here’s a helpful guide to good fruits for diarrhea.
9 Common Foods That Can Cause Diarrhea
You know about coffee and fast food—but even certain vegetables lead to stomach problems.
It’s not pleasant to talk about, and it’s even less pleasant to deal with, but everyone experiences watery stools (a.k.a. diarrhea) occasionally. Most bouts of diarrhea are caused by a virus or bacteria, but certain foods, including dairy, coffee, and anything spicy, can also send you running for the bathroom.
And despite feeling embarrassing, it’s a common issue. Research shows that up to 5% of U.S. adults are dealing with chronic diarrhea at any one time; another 2018 survey of 71,000 Americans revealed that up to one in five people have experienced diarrhea in just the past week.
What causes diarrhea immediately after eating?
If you’ve ever had to run to the toilet after eating, you’ve experienced acute diarrhea. Although there are a number of possible causes, including malabsorption, intolerances to foods like dairy, and chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s likely that this type of diarrhea is caused by food poisoning or a virus, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Food poisoning is the result of ingesting food or water contaminated with bacteria, the NIH notes. Food poisoning symptoms appear between hours and days after ingesting contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illnesses like norovirus and viral gastroenteritis, commonly called the stomach flu, can also cause acute diarrhea; symptoms can appear between 12 hours and 10 days after exposure to a virus, depending on the strain, the NIH explains.
What causes chronic diarrhea?
Certain food allergies and GI conditions make digestive issues lasting more than a few days more likely. Lactose intolerance, IBS, and celiac disease are three of the most common triggers of chronic diarrhea, according to the NIH. When you eat foods that inflame these conditions, like dairy, high-fiber foods, and gluten, it’s likely that your body will respond with diarrhea.
If you suspect that food, rather than an illness, is causing your diarrhea, start paying attention to your eating habits. “The best way to investigate which foods are making your symptoms worse is to keep a food diary,” says Shilpa Ravella, M.D., a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.
To do this, write down everything you eat in a day, including serving sizes and any brand names, alongside the time you eat. Then, note when you have symptoms and see if you can ID any common culprits. When you can finally pinpoint the foods that trigger your tummy troubles, you may be able to spare yourself some discomfort—and a few extra trips to the restroom.
So, which foods are most likely to cause diarrhea? Ahead, GI doctors share the most common culprits to keep in mind.
Sugar-free snacks and chewing gum may help satisfy your sweet tooth, but many contain sugar substitutes that can also act as a laxative. “Sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and sorbitol can contribute to diarrhea and bloating based on how your body metabolizes them in the gut,” says Bhavesh Shah, M.D., the medical director of Interventional Gastroenterology at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California.
Is your morning cup promptly followed by a rush to the bathroom? That’s pretty normal. “Coffee can cause diarrhea in some people,” Dr. Ravella says. “The caffeine can stimulate the gut to contract more quickly than it normally does, so food moves through faster and isn’t absorbed as well.” The acidity of coffee can also worsen the symptoms of some digestive disorders, such as acid reflux. Other caffeinated foods and drinks, including tea and energy drinks, could have the same effect.
If you have a few too many during a night out (or in, these days!), you may wake up with an upset stomach the next morning. “This is often a symptom that accompanies a hangover,” Dr. Shah says. “Alcohol is an irritant. Your gut may not agree with drinking a large amount.” Booze also speeds up digestion, which affects your body’s ability to absorb water—hence the liquid stools when you’re hung over.
According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 50 million American adults may be lactose intolerant. If your stomach goes rogue when you eat milk, cheese, or yogurt, you may be one of them. “Common symptoms, which begin about 30 minutes to two hours after consuming foods containing lactose, may include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea,” Dr. Shah says.
Wheat, Rye, and Barley
Gluten—a mix of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley—can cause diarrhea and bloating for some people, but the good news is that a true gluten sensitivity is relatively rare. Still, if you feel like wheat may be wreaking havoc on your digestive system, keep a food diary and look for patterns: Are you sick every time you eat bread or pasta? “If you think you have gluten intolerance, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist to make sure you don’t have celiac disease,” Dr. Ravella says. For people with this disorder, gluten can do serious damage by causing the body to attack the lining of the small intestine.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and monosaccharides, and polyols. They’re a group of carbs and sugar alcohols that can be tough to digest, especially for people with IBS, Dr. Ravella says, leading to gas, bloating, and diarrhea. A low-FODMAP diet may help improve symptoms, but should be monitored by a dietitian, as it requires you to cut out certain foods rich in vital nutrients, including high-fiber fruits and vegetables, dairy, and grains.
Fiber gets your digestive system moving, which is a good thing—but sometimes it’s a little too effective, Dr. Shah warns. Fiber binds with water, which can help prevent constipation but may also have a laxative effect if you consume too much at once. This is why many people who go vegan experience an upset stomach at first; a lot of produce means a lot of fiber. That’s not to say you shouldn’t load up on fruits and veggies, as they keep your gut healthy, help you maintain a healthy weight, and offer important disease-fighting nutrients. Instead, eat more fiber gradually until your stomach adjusts.
Some people can eat jalapeños like they’re candy, while others feel their stomach churn at the mere sight of a chile pepper. “Each individual is unique when it comes to tolerating spicy foods,” Dr. Ravella says. “Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestines, causing food to move more quickly through the gastrointestinal tract, which results in loose stools.” If you don’t eat spicy food often, she adds, you’re more likely to feel the burn when you do.
If you need motivation to skip the drive-thru window, consider that greasy takeout grub can be hard on your gut. “In general, all fats can be harder to digest, but the worst culprits are greasy, fried foods typically found at fast food restaurants,” Dr. Ravella says. “You’re less likely to have issues when eating healthy fats from whole foods, like avocados.” Greasy fries, on the other hand, don’t really pack any nutritional benefits—so if they bother your belly, just skip them entirely.
What To Eat When You’ve Had Diarrhea Forever
Having diarrhea is kind of like having a hangover: It’s really painful and makes you regret everything you consumed the day or night before. Everyone gets diarrhea — a.k.a. loose, frequent, or watery poops — and it can be caused by an infection, inflammation from another GI disorder, or something you ate, says Melissa Rosen, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.
It’s “normal” to poop anywhere from three times a day to three times a week, and everyone is different, Dr. Rosen says. “It’s also a matter of perception: For somebody who moves their bowels once a day, a sudden increase in frequency will be of concern to them,” she says, adding that diarrhea can also refer to a change in the consistency of your stools. Now that we’ve talked a lot of shit (sorry), here’s how you can get rid of diarrhea.
The good news? Even though it can feel kind of gross, diarrhea is usually not a huge deal and will go away on its own. However, if you’ve had diarrhea for at least two weeks, or you have blood in your stool, significant abdominal pain, fevers, or dehydration, that is a sign that there may be something more serious going on, so you should see a doctor, Dr. Rosen says.
But, if you’re just waiting for your bowels to get back to normal during a typical experience with diarrhea, you should drink lots of fluids (at least one cup per bout of diarrhea) and eat binding foods, Dr. Rosen says. “These are foods that tend to be easily digested; they’re bland foods,” she says. It’s best to stay away from greasy foods, raw veggies, and dairy until your poop is back to normal, she says. It’s also a good idea to eat a bunch of small meals, rather than three big ones.
What Should You Eat When You Have Diarrhea?
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“When you’re climbing up a ladder and you hear something splatter…” Remember the Diarrhea Song of the early 90s? It’s not so funny when you’re living it. Fortunately there’s some simple steps you can take to keep hunger (and the runs) at bay.
Let’s break down what you can do when Mt. Butt erupts.
What should you eat when you have diarrhea?
A bland diet, which includes:
- lean meats
- low fat yogurt
- white breads and pastas
- electrolyte-enhanced sport drinks
What exactly is diarrhea and why does it happen?
Diarrhea (aka watery bowel movements) happens to everyone occasionally and usually won’t last more than 3 days.
Other diarrhea symptoms include:
- abdominal bloating
- an urgent need to go
- a bubbly sensation in your tummy
Peeps with chronic digestive issues like IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis may have diarrhea more often.
Some common causes of diarrhea include:
- Viral infections. viruses like norovirus and rotavirus are frequent causes of diarrhea.
- Bacterial infections (aka Traveler’s diarrhea). This is caused by bacteria-infected food or water. Common bacteria strains include Campylobacter, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, and Shigella.
- Parasitic infections. These are caused by a parasite entering your body usually through contaminated water. Common examples include Cryptosporidium enteritis, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia.
- Food intolerances or food allergies. Like lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance.
What to eat when you have diarrhea
Adjusting your diet is the first line of defense against diarrhea. Some foods can help, while others can be triggering.
As you recover from a bout of diarrhea, you should eat bland foods that are gentle on your gut.
What’s a bland diet?
These are foods that are soft, low in fiber, and not fried, spicy, or stimulating (like caffeine or alcohol.)
The MVPs of a bland diet include:
- soup, especially broth
- low fat yogurt
- cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables (like spinach, peas, or potatoes)
- breads, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour (choose gluten-free if needed)
- refined hot cereals like oatmeal
- lean, tender meats, such as poultry, fish, and shellfish (steamed, grilled, or baked)
- creamy nut butter
Pro tip: Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, as that’s gentler on your gut.
Should I be adding probiotics?
Adding some healthy bacteria into your digestive tract can be hit or miss, since dairy items like kefir and yogurt can be irritating for some. Consider a non-dairy source of probiotics like sauerkraut or miso.
What should I drink when I have diarrhea?
Diarrhea dehydrates the body and depletes it of essential minerals and electrolytes, so replenishing your liquid stores is ultra important!
The best drink options to recover from diarrhea include:
- broth (soup)
- electrolyte water
- sports recovery drinks
- coconut water
- chamomile tea
Foods to avoid with diarrhea
Some foods are no bueno for diarrhea. These are best avoided until your bowels are back to normal.
Anything hot, hot, hot can irritate your digestive system. That means no sriracha, chorizo, jalapeños, curry, chili peppers, garlic, or raw onions.
The fats and oils used to fry foods puts a lot of stress on the digestive system. Boiled and steamed foods are much better alternatives. So steer clear of noms like tempura veggies, french fries, breaded meats, and falafel.
High fiber foods
This is the rare occasion that you’ll want to avoid high fiber foods. Usually fiber is a healthy nutrient that keeps the bowels moving. But, when you’re trying to recover from diarrhea, active bowels aren’t such a good thing.
Steer clear of foods rich in insoluble fiber, like:
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
Sugary foods and artificial sweeteners
These bad boys can wreak havoc and trigger more diarrhea when introduced to an already sensitive colon. Consider sugary fruits like pears, grapes, and rhubarb to be as triggering as laxatives.
Diarrhea Myths and Facts
Follow the BRAT Diet to Get Better
Myth. Bland “BRAT” foods — bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — were once recommended to treat diarrhea. But BRAT foods don’t have enough of other nutrients you need, like protein and fat. You can eat bland foods for the first day or so. But you should return to your normal diet as soon as you can.
Dehydration Is a Serious Risk
Fact. Diarrhea causes you to lose fluids. Losing too much fluid can bring on dehydration, especially in children. A child may be dehydrated if they seem thirsty, has a dry mouth or sunken soft spots on the head (infants), or is urinating less than usual or crying without tears. Adults may have similar symptoms, as well as sunken eyes and lethargy. Call your doctor if you see signs of dehydration. Your doctor may recommend drinking oral rehydration solutions, water, uncaffeinated, low-sugar sports drinks, diluted fruit juices, and broths.
Flu Shots Prevent Stomach Flu
Myth. Seasonal flu — or influenza virus — can cause fever, body ache, and general misery, but it rarely causes diarrhea. Influenza is generally a disease of the airways and lungs. The sickness that some people call “stomach flu” can cause diarrhea, but that bug is different from influenza. “Stomach flu” is just a catch-all name for viral gastroenteritis, which is caused by many different germs.
Completely Avoid Fatty Foods
Myth. Greasy, fried foods often make diarrhea worse because they’re hard to digest. But eating a little fat could help ease diarrhea. The slow digestion of fats may reduce diarrhea symptoms. As long as you don’t have a problem absorbing fat, add a teaspoon of mayo, a pat of butter, or a little lean meat to your next meal. It may help with your symptoms.
Drugs Can Cause Diarrhea
Fact. Side effects of medications may include diarrhea. For example, antibiotics and some drugs for cancer, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure may cause diarrhea. If you develop diarrhea after starting a new drug, call your doctor.
Sugary Foods Make Diarrhea Worse
Fact. Some people reach for sports drinks or sodas to replenish lost fluids when they have diarrhea. But very sugary foods and drinks — even natural sugars found in fruit — may make diarrhea symptoms worse. During digestion, sugar draws fluid into the intestines, diluting the stools. Some sugar substitutes, like sorbitol, may have the same effect.
Teething Causes Diarrhea
Myth. Many parents believe that teething triggers diarrhea in babies. But pediatricians say it’s not true. Your baby may be cranky or irritable during teething. But if they also have diarrhea or a fever, talk to your doctor.
Fiber Foods May Help
Fact. But it depends on what type of fiber you eat. Soluble fiber, found in beans, peas, oat bran, and peeled fruits and cooked vegetables — absorbs water in the intestines and makes stools firmer. But insoluble fiber — which is found in the skins of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and wheat bran — may speed up stools as they pass through the intestines.
Coffee Can Make It Worse
Fact. The caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate might make your bowels work faster. Caffeine works as a stimulant in the intestines, making digestion speed up and causing your bowels to empty faster. Even though decaffeinated coffee has less caffeine than regular, decaf may still have enough caffeine to stimulate your bowels.
Take Medicine Once You Feel Sick
Myth. Diarrhea often goes away on its own, so treatment isn’t usually necessary. But over-the-counter diarrhea medications can offer some relief from symptoms. Avoid them if you have a fever or other symptoms, such as bloody stool. Don’t give babies or children any diarrhea medicine unless a pediatrician recommends it.