Diarrhea: Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations to improve symptoms

The quality of your health depends upon many pieces that not only include the health of your bodily systems, but also include a healthy diet, exercise, and spirituality.

Diet.  Treatment of diarrhea may center on developing general healthy diet guidelines.  This involves adjusting the diet to eliminate foods suspected of stimulating or irritating the digestive tract and then slowly reintroducing them to determine if they aggravate symptoms. If they do in fact aggravate symptoms, eliminate from your diet.

A second step would be to maintain an adequate source of soluble fiber which helps to alleviate both constipation and diarrhea.  Foods high in soluble fiber produce a gel when mixed with liquid.  Soluble fiber helps maintain regularity by forming bulk and keeps the muscles of the colon stretched and working.  An excellent source of this soluble fiber is ground flax meal.

Dietary recommendations for diarrhea include:

Foods to AVOID include:

  • Alcoholic beverages in excess since they hinder the functioning of the immune and digestive systems
  • All dairy products until diarrhea is resolved.
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Excessive caffeine intake – While moderate amounts of caffeine may be beneficial, excessive consumption can disrupt the body’s systems, causing insomnia and digestive irregularity (constipation or diarrhea).
  • All simple or refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.) – Read more about good carbs and bad carbs.
  • Sweetened fruit juices that spike blood sugar levels too rapidly
  • Sodium nitrite found in processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon
  • All foods containing refined sugar or artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, Splenda®, etc.  Choose a natural sweetener like Xylosweet instead.
  • Bottom crawlers, such as oysters, clams, and lobster that may contain toxic levels of mercury
  • Deep-sea fish such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish that may contain toxic levels of mercury.  Choose minimal-mercury albacore tuna instead.
  • Farm-raised fish that contain PCBs and not enough omega-3 essential fatty acids, due to their land-based diets. Choose wild-caught salmon instead.
  • Products (such as soy milk and ice cream) that contain carrageenan, a seaweed extract that’s added to foods to retain their creamy texture. For some people, carrageenan irritates the stomach.4
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in many processed foods, deep-fried foods, fast food, and junk food – Read more about good fats and bad fats.

Exercise.  Regular exercise improves general health and relaxes the bowel.  Regular exercise may also encourage the bowel to remain relaxed and function more efficiently. When you have chronic diarrhea, perhaps the last thing you want do is exercise, but even going for a walk is a step in the right direction.

Other tips for diarrhea sufferers

  • If you have “silver” dental fillings, get an evaluation from a mercury-free dentist who specializes in the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings.  Mercury in the body can damage the gastrointestinal system and be a cause of diarrhea.  Find a mercury-free dentist in your area now!

Additional Information about Diarrhea

  1. Diarrhea Overview
  2. Common symptoms of diarrhea
  3. Common causes of diarrhea
  4. Help me choose a natural and alternative treatment for diarrhea
  5. Conventional or prescription medications used in the treatment of diarrhea
  6. Cited Sources and Additional Reading for diarrhea

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