Table of Contents
4: Black Tea
The tannins in black tea can help reduce the effects of an infection by their astingent effects: basically they make the environment in your gut alittle harsher, helping to keep down the new, illness-casuing bugs until the ecosystem of your intestines can stabilise itself. It's also a good way to drink some extra fluidsand get some Vitamin C into your system if you drink it with lemon!
5: Root Vegetables
Root vegetables won't trigger celiac, gluten or FODMAP intolerances (or lactose, of course) and they're mid-to-high-0fiber. They'll make you feel better because they'll push up your blood sugar and you'll find they're less likely to trigger nausea or more diarrhea than grains are. Carrots, potatoes, swedes, and turnips are all good choices.
6: Be A BRAT
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. A bizarre and oddly restrictive diet most of the time, it's ideal for the diarrhea sufferer because there's little that's hard to digest; it's mostly carbs that will be digested high in the digestive tract and the potassium in the bananas will help with dehydration. Swap the toast for salty crackers for an extra DIY rehydration boost.
2013's most tiresomely ubiquitous "superfood," blueberries have two active parts: the berries and the roots. The berries are a traditional Scandinavian folk remedy that's also standard doctor's advice in the area, and they're rich in anthocyanins and tannins. Meanwhile, blueberry root, which never really made it as a "superfood", is a highly effective natural diarrhea remedy which probably works by astringency in the same way as black tea.
8: Orange Peel Tea
Any mix of orange peel is fine, but teas are usually the easiest way to get the astringent, antibacterial oils into your system without just eating the stuff, which most people find unappetizing. The oils in orange peel are responsible for its penetrating fresh scent, but they're highly antiseptic and unlike antibiotics they're not organism specific: they'll work on virusses and fungi too. It's a good idea to use organic oranges for this. I know I said you wouldn't need a massive budget, and I'm sure you don't feel like heading to the farmer's market when you're suffering from diarrhea, but non-organic fruits can be contaminated with insecticides, herbicides, dyes, waxes and other things that probably won't make you feel better.
9: Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is widely available as a spice. But its seeds contain a high amount of mucilage, a form of insoluble fiber which swells in the colon. Eating fenugreek seeds can help accelerate the rate at which you get better from diarrhea.
Ginger is used to treat food poisoning. Again, it's astringent, but it's also antispasmodic and loaded wirth anti-inflammatories. The result is something that reduces your distress and discomfort while having some effect on the actual problem. It's best taken as a ginger tea, which you can drink as often as you like while you're sick.
While diarrhea isn't normally dangerous for adults in the West, here are a few warning signs that it's time to see your doctor:
- A fever of 102°F or higher
- Blood or pus in your stool
- Tarry, black stool
- Severe pain in the abdomen or rectum
- Very severe diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration
- Diarrhea that lasts more than a few days
Obviously you should be extra-careful with children and the elderly, who are more vulnerable to diarrhea than healthy adults.
And while we're on the subject, here are some diarrhea myths you can safely ignore:
Clear fluids: makes diarrhea last longer.You're better off with starchy fluids or soups.
Milk curdles in your stomach: what normally happens when you mix it with an acid? Milk is designed to curdle in stomachs. Just avoid drinking too much of it while you have diarrhea, because its high sugar content can contribute to symptoms (and of course, that's worse if you're lactose-intolerant).
Wean yourself back onto solid foods: in fact, you should do your best to keep eating: high-fiber, little and often is the way to go to have less discomfort, less risk of symptoms worsening, less dehydration and a shorter illness.