In developed countries, diarrhea is a fairly harmless condition. But it certainly is one you want to deal with as quickly as possible due to the physical and emotional discomfort it causes.
Whether you or your child suffers from acute or chronic diarrhea, fortunately there are different remedies to naturally deal with it.
Why do you or your child have diarrhea? What to eat in case of diarrhea? Find the answers below!
A few causes of diarrhea
Before dealing with a health issue I always recommend trying to understand what caused it in the first place.
Below are a few common causes of diarrhea in children and adults:
- Food poisoning or contaminated water.
- Bacterial infection passed from another person or infected surfaces.
- Overeating or drinking too much too quickly (e.g. fruit juices).
- Eating too much unripe or overripe fruit.
- Drinking too much coffee or alcohol.
- Side effects of certain medication (especially antacids), supplements (excess vitamin C and/or magnesium), or antibiotics.
- Food allergies such as lactose intolerance or gluten allergy.
- Gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or irritable bowel disease (IBD).
- Emotional stress and anxiety.
Six natural ways to deal with diarrhea fast (for you and your children):
1. Eat foods that are easy to digest, in small quantities spread throughout the day.
What to eat when you have diarrhea:
- Simple whole grains: rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, …
- Steamed vegetables and a little fruit because they're easy to digest and provide water, fiber, and electrolytes. Stick with apples, bananas, and steamed carrots the first days.
- Raw fermented dairy like yogurt or kefir, which are high in probiotics.
- Flaxseed oil, 1 tsp. a day.
- Infusion of ginger root with a teaspoon of raw honey.
2. Stay hydrated by drinking about two glasses of fluids per hour for adults, and small quantities as often as possible for babies and children. Best sources are purified water, homemade bone broth, and coconut water (source of electrolytes).
3. Rest! Help your body recover by sleeping 8 hours per night or more.
4. Try to manage your stress through meditation, yoga, reading, massages, etc. and just take it easy for a few days.
5. Take some natural supplements:
- Probiotics to help recolonize your gut with healthy bacteria (for adults and children).
- Digestive enzymes to help your body break down food (can be considered for children too in case of chronic diarrhea, but only give them enzymes that have been developed specifically for them).
- L-glutamine to help heal your gut lining in case of chronic diarrhea.
- Aloe vera juice, ½ cup three times per day (for adults and children).
- Psyllium husks or powder. This is a soluble fiber which can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea (for adults and children).
- Peppermint essential oil (adults only).
6. In case of chronic diarrhea, try to identify the root cause of your recurring issues by seeing a doctor or a certified nutritionist. He/she can order medical tests to detect possible issues such as IBS or SIBO and/or help identify food allergies and intolerances.
Three things to avoid when dealing with diarrhea
1. Avoid the intake of anti-diarrheal medications. Although these are very efficient in stopping symptoms quickly, in most cases it is not recommended to take them. As a matter of fact they can often do more harm than good because they interfere with your body’s natural (and brilliant!!) mechanism of ridding harmful toxins or microbes. If you block this mechanism the intruders might stay in your body longer.
2. Don’t eat foods that are harsh on the digestive system such as:
- Sugar, artificial sweeteners, sugary drinks
- Processed fats and oils found in commercial meals and cookies, fried foods, and fast food
- Processed milk (UHT)
- Foods you may be allergic to (especially in the case of chronic diarrhea), such as gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, …
3. Don’t do any form of strenuous exercise. If you like to work out, stick to softer activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, soft yoga or pilates.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Please don't hesitate to share any other remedies that work for you and your children below.