5 Foods to Help Diarrhea

May 7th 2016

For severe diarrhea, some health experts recommend the so-called "BRAT" diet, named after the first letter of each of its components: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. While this diet doesn't contain enough nutrients for long-term sustenance, in the short term, it may help ease symptoms of diarrhea.

Salty Foods

Because a great deal of sodium can be lost during an attack of diarrhea, you should eat salty foods to replace the missing nutrient. Munch on plain pretzels or sip some salty soups. You can also eat cooked eggs and potatoes with salt to replace the lost sodium.

High-Potassium Foods

Potassium is a crucial nutrient often lost during diarrhea. Eat high-potassium foods that are easy on the digestive system, such as bananas or potatoes without the skin. Even banana chips can be helpful. Try drinking sports drinks that have potassium added. Some fruit juices and nectars also contain potassium.

Low-Fiber Foods

Bland, low-fiber foods are often easiest for your body to tolerate when fighting diarrhea. Try eating plain, boiled potatoes, saltine crackers or unbuttered toast. While you may try to eat whole grains most of the time for their healthy properties, during a bout of diarrhea, switch to products made with refined, white flour, including pasta, white rice, white bread and pancakes.


Because diarrhea can cause dehydration, you should focus on staying hydrated. It's often easiest on the digestive system to drink fluids between meals rather than with them. Plain water is best, though other clear liquids are also acceptable. Drink a cup of water every time you experience a loose bowel movement to replace the fluids lost. High-sodium chicken broth can do double duty in helping your fluid and sodium levels at the same time.

Foods to Avoid with Diarrhea

Eating fatty foods typically just makes diarrhea much worse, as does consuming most dairy products. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners, which exacerbate diarrhea in many people. You should also avoid any foods that typically give you gas.


When you're suffering from diarrhea, what you eat can make a drastic difference in your body's ability to bounce back and get past the unpleasant symptoms. Because the body loses a lot of fluid during bouts of diarrhea, eating foods that replenish nutrients such as sodium and potassium is crucial. It's also important to avoid foods that can exacerbate the symptoms of diarrhea.

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