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The best foods to eat when you have diarrhea

Updated on June 19, 2013

Diarrhea reducing foods

A short spell of diarrhea is bad, but a couple of days of it is worse. Though you probably won't have the best appetite when you are sick with diarrhea you can still get pretty hungry, and eating the wrong food can make things worse.

Here I have compiled a list of foods that are tolerable and even helpful in aiding with the symptoms of diarrhea. This list is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice, and anyone with diarrhea lasting for more than a couple of days should see a doctor.

First, remember that the most important thing you can do to help your body when you have diarrhea is to stay hydrated. The body is losing lots of fluid and you need to maintain a good fluid intake. Plain water is the best, as excess sugar, caffeine, and dairy can further irritate the stomach.


The BRATTY Diet

The most common set of foods prescribed to someone suffering from diarrhea is the BRATTY diet. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Later physicians added another T and a Y to the end, which stands for tea and yogurt. Together these foods can help firm up bowel movements while supplying you with important vitamins, minerals, and easy to absorb carbohydrates, which provide the body with energy.

The foods should be served with the minimum of spices and sugar, which can prolong diarrhea. You should not begin to eat the yogurt until the stomach has begin to calm, as taking in dairy too early can worsen diarrhea. However, the yogurt is very important as it contains live cultures that help the stomach to replace good bacteria that has been lost during the illness.

Good foods to eat when you have diarrhea

bananas

rice

cereal

applesauce

apples

tea 

toast and jelly

yogurt

noodles (easy on the seasoning) 

boiled potatoes

hard candy



Foods to avoid when you have diarrhea

dairy early on

fried and greasy foods

sugary drinks like sodas

SPICY FOOD

cream soups

raw fruits and vegetables

caffeine

alcohol  

also, avoid over-the-counter anti diarrhea medicines for the first 24 hours, as diarrhea is usually the body purging an infection-the bad stuff needs to get out.

Follow these recommendations and get plenty of rest and you should be "regular" within a few days. Avoid the urge to start back eating normally too soon, you could relapse and the results are not fun. Once again, if you have symptoms for more than a few days be sure to go see a doctor. 

Know your diarrhea....

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    • profile image

      Jozie montez 4 months ago

      Is it okay for me to eat a ramen noodle cup or is that too much seasoning?

    • profile image

      farzana 10 months ago

      is noodles okay for me? i didn't know! *_*

    • profile image

      Lawrence 18 months ago

      i have diarrhea for three days now and i also have mild headaches. what do you think should i do? I've been drinking gatorade and having a good diet but still no good

    • profile image

      GANESH REDDY 20 months ago

      can i eat bread and jam

    • profile image

      adrian 2 years ago

      yep definitely helped me ! thanks!!

    • profile image

      Caitlin 2 years ago

      Can you eat jam on toast for brekkie eg. Strawberry jam with real sugar (no sugar replacements) on toast every morning that you have diarrhea and if so how many pieces? Thank you

    • profile image

      jason 2 years ago

      Are normimode tablets any good to take

    • profile image

      Jam 2 years ago

      Important About Jam, make sure it doesn't contain sugar replacements such as Sorbitol as that will create a total havoc in your intestines (during diarrhea)!

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Jerome, I don't think so, unless you eat an extreme amount. Christian, instant noodles are fine as long as they are not spicy, just take it easy on the seasoning.

    • profile image

      christian 3 years ago

      I don't have time to buy some bananas or cereals, can I just eat the instant noodles in my cabinet instead? Will it worsen my diarrhea? Thank u

    • profile image

      jerome 3 years ago

      If I eat too much jam everday with bread, will it cause diarrhea

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Yeah. Round, flat corn tostadas with no toppings. They come in packs of twenty or so. The most commonly seen brands where I live are Mission and Guerrero.

    • profile image

      Jan T. 3 years ago

      Do you REALLY mean tostadas or do you mena TORTILLAS?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Phil and Liam, I'm sorry you aren't well. This article and it's methods are for dealing with short bouts of diarrhea. Liam, you should go see a doctor if you aren't better by now. Phil, you said you saw a consultant. Is diarrhea common with Leukemia? The BRATTY diet is helpful, but a month with diarrhea is definitely something you should be seeing a professional about, which i'm not. What I know about dealing with diarrhea is all written on this page, sorry I don't have any more information. Actually, I just remembered that the last time I had diarrhea a Latin american friend of mine told me to eat toastadas, as this would "dry out" my stomach. Sure enough, after a day of only tostadas, rice, bananas, and lightly seasoned ramen noodles I was regular again. I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      Liam Andrews 3 years ago

      i am 13years old and i have had diarrhea for more than 48hours, i am doing all the right things like eating bananas, drinking herbal tea, drinking hot water and toast but my belly just feels worse

    • profile image

      Philip Higgins 3 years ago

      Hi Rick, My name is Phil, I've had Chronic diarrhea for ONE whole month, I also have Leukemia, I've spoke to my consultant, he told me to take Imodium. Still not working. I need help fast. I've tried your method it improved for approx 12 hours.. Thanks for your time.

    • profile image

      Rachel Marksem 3 years ago

      I hope so aswel,thank you soo much. :)

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      I hope you get better soon. If you aren't better in a few days don't hesitate to go to the doctor.

    • profile image

      Rachel Marksem 3 years ago

      Hi uhm thanx for the hub page,this is day two of my having diarrhea..my sister advised taking regular soda would make it go away instantly..which I did yesterday on day one and have been taking anti-diarrhea medicines unfortunately its not helping worst part is that am having cramps so am gona try out the Bratty diet hope it helps. :(

    • profile image

      maria 3 years ago

      Thanks for the helpful advices

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Jade- I don't think a little would hurt.

      Nicole-Yes, it can.

    • profile image

      nicole 3 years ago

      Can alergic reaction to something cause diarehaa??

    • profile image

      jade Harper 3 years ago

      Could you possibly have jelly?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Ashleigh, you should tell your mom and see a doctor. I hope you feel better soon.

    • profile image

      Ashleigh eyre 3 years ago

      Hi I'm just worried as I've just realised I've had diarrhea for two days it's running really quick their i guess chunky but really thin? I'm planning to tell my mum. I also had it a other day but I haven't been having poos a lot.

      I'm note sure what to do as I do have a flu which is blocked nose and yucky coughs.

      I've looked at things to eat but should I see my doctor or convince my mum to take me?

    • profile image

      nick 3 years ago

      What about tomato soup

    • profile image

      ROB 3 years ago

      I have heard boild eggs are good too is this correct ?

    • profile image

      Alice 3 years ago

      Thanks so much this helps a lot!

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Multigrain bread might be a little harder to digest. Jam is probably fine in moderation.

    • profile image

      nemo 3 years ago

      is multigrain bread with strawberry jam good?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 3 years ago from USA

      Unless it's fried or spicy it's not necessarily bad, but it might be a little to hard for your upset stomach to digest. A doctor can tell you for sure.

    • profile image

      Riley havers 3 years ago

      Is it okay to eat chicken?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 4 years ago from USA

      By chocolate I assume you mean chocolate candy bars or bites. In addition to a little caffeine these contain massive amounts of sugar. Though sugar can help you feel better when you haven't eaten in a while, the amount contained in a chocolate bar might be a little too much too fast for your already stressed stomach. A bite or too is probably OK though. But then again, I'm not a doctor, so what do I know? Glad you liked the hub, your welcome, and thanks for your comment.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks for your well-researched hub. I do eat bananas whenever my stomach feels not so good. Is it also all right to eat chocolate when you have diarrhea? Thanks again for posting. :)

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 4 years ago from USA

      I'm not sure about that one, Quinn. I would think so, so long as it isn't cream of chicken soup.

    • profile image

      Quinn 4 years ago

      Is chicken noodle soup good to eat?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 4 years ago from USA

      maddiekajawa, you should always follow your mum's advice over something you read on the internet. As far as the dairy goes, you should not begin to eat the yogurt until your stomach has begin to calm, as taking in dairy too early can worsen diarrhea, so your mum is right. Once the diarrhea has calmed down yogurt can help your stomach build back up it's "good" bacteria. However, i'm not a doctor, and that is who you should see if you don't start getting better.

    • profile image

      maddiekajawa 4 years ago

      My mum said that dairy is bad with diarrhoea. Should I have yogurt if it's dairy?

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 4 years ago from USA

      Yes Katy, peanut butter is a generally a good food to eat while you have diarrhea. I hope you feel better soon.

    • profile image

      katy 4 years ago

      Can i eat peanut butter?

    • profile image

      ingping 4 years ago

      Nice reply to Hayley. Thanks for this page. in Australia, Nurse On Call said 'cooked' cereal. I guess raw cereals would have too much fibre.

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 4 years ago from USA

      I'm glad my advice was helpful. Remember to always check with your parents or a doctor when you are sick before getting information from the internet. Also, you should drink your tea, not eat it!

    • profile image

      Hayley L Arkley 4 years ago

      Hey im 11 years old and i think this was really helpful, thank you for the advice. Oh and when do yu eat tea like ( you don't have 2 answer that if yu don't want to )

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      i have 2 days with dirrhea but now i don't and i need to know wat i should eat

    • profile image

      anonmys 5 years ago

      I think this is so helpful. I've only

      got dirrhea this is

      my 3rd day todaI'm on antibiotics & I also take thyroxine for my thyroids I baven't been vomiting .

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia

      Great hub on an unpleasant subject, BRAT diet makes it easy to remember for any future bouts. :)

    • rick combe profile image
      Author

      rick combe 5 years ago from USA

      Yeah, I know I picked an odd subject, but hopefully it will help lots of people. Thanks for the votes!

    • marymac47 profile image

      marymac47 5 years ago from Franklin. NC

      Very good, interesting, useful Hub!! Thanks for the info! Voted up!! and Useful!!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      This certainly can be a tough subject to write about but you did a great job handling it. Voted up. Thanks!