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What to eat when you have diarrhoea?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

If you’re dealing with diarrhoea, you should eat easily digestible, plain foods like bananas, white rice, boiled potatoes, porridge, and boiled or steamed chicken. These can help soothe your stomach and replenish the nutrients your body has lost.

Diarrhoea is when you have frequent, loose, or watery poo. It’s often a symptom of another issue rather than a disease itself. Diarrhoea can vary from mild and short-lived to more severe and long-lasting. Common causes include infections from viruses, bacteria, or parasites, as well as conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Diarrhoea is a common problem. Most people experience it a few times a year, often due to food poisoning, viral infections, or reactions to medications. Children, especially those in childcare, are also frequently affected.

List of foods to eat when you have diarrhoea

When you’re dealing with diarrhoea, choosing foods that are gentle on your digestive system can help ease symptoms.

Here are some foods that are generally recommended:

  • Bananas (easy to digest and replenish your potassium levels)
  • Plain white rice (can help thicken your poo)
  • Unsweetened applesauce (gentle on the stomach and provides fibre)
  • Plain toast (help settle your stomachs)
  • Boiled potatoes (provide energy without irritating your digestive tract)
  • Plain crackers (easy to digest and provides some calories)
  • Porridge (helps thicken your poo and provides fibre)
  • Boiled or steamed chicken (provides protein without additional fat)
  • Yoghurt (restores beneficial bacteria to your gut)

These foods are mild, easy to digest, and can provide necessary nutrients while your digestive system recovers. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids such as water, herbal teas, or electrolyte solutions like dioralyte.

List of foods to avoid when you have diarrhoea

As important as it easy to continue eating food while you have diarrhoea, there are some foods that you should try to avoid if you want to start feeling better sooner: 

  • Spicy foods (irritates your digestive system)
  • Greasy or fried foods (difficult to digest)
  • Dairy products (hard to digest if you’re lactose intolerant or have a sensitive gut)
  • High-fibre foods (increases how much you need to poo)
  • Alcohol and caffeinated drinks (irritates your stomach and intestines)
  • Sweets and sugary foods (draws more water into your intestines)
  • Carbonated drinks (causes bloating and discomfort)
  • Artificial sweeteners (can have a laxative effect)

Frequently asked questions about diarrhoea

What should I eat when I have diarrhoea?

Stick to easily digestible foods like bananas, white rice, toast, boiled potatoes, plain crackers, porridge, boiled or steamed chicken, and yoghurt.

Which foods can help relieve diarrhoea?

Foods that can help include bananas, white rice, applesauce, plain toast, boiled potatoes, plain crackers, porridge, boiled or steamed chicken, and yoghurt. These options are easy to digest and can provide essential nutrients while calming the digestive system.

What foods should I avoid if I have diarrhoea?

Avoid spicy foods, greasy or fried foods, dairy products like milk and cheese, high-fibre foods such as whole grains and raw vegetables, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, sweets, sugary foods, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners.

A man stands in front of the toilet holding a roll of toilet paper, anticipating diarrhoea

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