Is smoothies good for diarrhea?

Diarrhea is an unpleasant and uncomfortable condition that most people experience from time to time. It involves loose, watery stools that occur more frequently than usual. Diarrhea is usually caused by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection, or as a reaction to something in the diet. It can lead to dehydration and nutrient loss if severe or prolonged.

When you have diarrhea, the advice is usually to stick to a bland diet of foods that are easy to digest. This includes things like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. However, some people wonder if smoothies may also be helpful for diarrhea. Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits and drawbacks of smoothies when you are experiencing diarrhea.

Potential benefits of smoothies for diarrhea

Here are some of the ways smoothies may help with diarrhea:

  • Provide nutrients – Diarrhea can lead to the loss of fluids, electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and nutrients. Smoothies allow you to ingest vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and calories in an easy-to-digest form.
  • Hydration – Smoothies can provide hydration from their liquid content, which is important if you are losing fluids from frequent stools.
  • Fiber – Some smoothies contain fiber from ingredients like fruit, vegetables, chia seeds, etc. Soluble fiber can help absorb water in the intestines and slow transit time.
  • Probiotics – Smoothies made with probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir can help restore beneficial gut bacteria. This may reduce duration of infectious diarrhea.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Fruits and vegetables in smoothies provide antioxidants and polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory effects in the GI tract.

Overall, a smoothie that contains fluids, electrolytes, calories, soluble fiber, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory compounds could be a nutritious choice that is gentler on the digestive system than solid foods.

Smoothie ingredients to include

When making a smoothie for diarrhea, some ingredients to consider including are:

  • Bananas – Provides potassium and pectin fiber to soothe the GI tract
  • Apples – Contain pectin to thicken stools
  • Berries – Blueberries and blackberries are high in antioxidants and polyphenols
  • Yogurt or kefir – Provides probiotics to combat diarrhea-causing bugs
  • Oats – Contain soluble beta-glucan fiber to absorb water
  • Chia or flaxseeds – High in soluble fiber to reduce stool looseness
  • Coconut water – Helps replace electrolytes including potassium and magnesium
  • Protein powders – Whey or plant-based proteins help maintain energy and muscle
  • Ginger – Has anti-inflammatory compounds that may soothe the gut

A basic recipe might include banana, blueberries, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, coconut water, and whey protein powder.

Ingredients to avoid in diarrhea smoothies

On the other hand, there are some ingredients that are best avoided during bouts of diarrhea. These include:

  • Raw veggies – Fiber from raw veggies may irritate the GI tract
  • Caffeine – Can stimulate contractions and worsen diarrhea
  • High FODMAP foods – Onions, garlic, beans and lentils may exacerbate diarrhea in some people
  • Spicy foods – Chili peppers and other spices can irritate the intestines
  • Artificial sweeteners – Sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol can have a laxative effect
  • Fatty foods – High fat content can delay gastric emptying

It’s best to stick to low-fiber fruits and well-cooked vegetables in smoothies during diarrhea episodes. Avoid adding coffee, hot spices, beans, and sweeteners like xylitol or maltitol.

Should you avoid dairy in diarrhea smoothies?

This depends on the individual. Many people can tolerate dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and milk when they have diarrhea. The probiotics in yogurt and kefir can actually help restore healthy gut flora. Milk provides protein and carbohydrates.

However, some people are lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting milk sugars when diarrhea strikes. Using lactose-free dairy products or sticking to non-dairy milks like almond, coconut, or oat milk is an option.

If dairy tends to aggravate your diarrhea symptoms, it’s best avoided. But if you tolerate it well, then yogurt and milk can be beneficial ingredients in moderation.

Are fruit smoothies good for toddler diarrhea?

Diarrhea is common in toddlers and babies as their young immune systems and guts adjust. Mild fruit smoothies without much fiber can be a good way to provide hydration and nutrition when a toddler has diarrhea.

Some pediatrician-recommended smoothie ingredient options include:

  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Rice cereal
  • Pear juice
  • Cooked carrots
  • Water or electrolyte-containing fluids

Avoid raw vegetables, caffeine, apple or prune juice, fatty foods, and acidic juices in toddler smoothies for diarrhea. Small sips of mild fruit smoothies can help toddlers stay hydrated and get calories until the diarrhea resolves.

Should smoothies be part of a BRAT diet for diarrhea?

The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. It is often recommended for nausea and diarrhea because these bland, low-fiber foods are easy on the stomach and intestines.

Smoothies containing BRAT diet ingredients like bananas, applesauce, and rice cereal can be included as part of a bland diet for diarrhea. The liquid nature makes smoothies even gentler and easier to digest.

Some examples of BRAT diet smoothies could include:

  • Banana apple smoothie – Banana, applesauce, cinnamon, water
  • Rice pudding smoothie – Cooked white rice, milk, cinnamon, honey
  • Banana oat smoothie – Banana, oats, honey, vanilla, water

Stick to just a few simple ingredients and avoid adding fiber from raw fruits/veggies, juices, or sweeteners that can worsen diarrhea symptoms.

What about green smoothies for diarrhea?

Green smoothies packed with raw leafy greens may not be the best choice when you have diarrhea. While very healthy in general, raw greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard are high in insoluble fiber. For some people, they can aggravate diarrhea by stimulating gut contractions.

It may be better to focus on fruit-based smoothies and avoid adding raw greens until your diarrhea resolves. Cooked greens like spinach or kale in small amounts are easier to digest.

If you want to include greens, stick to just a handful of cooked greens and focus more on ingredients like bananas, mango, apple, coconut water, probiotics, ginger, and oats.

Are protein shakes and diarrhea a bad combination?

Most protein powders like whey or plant proteins like pea and soy are easily digested. This makes them a good way to get calories and nutrition during bouts of diarrhea when you may not have much appetite.

Avoid protein powders with added fiber, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and stimulants during diarrhea episodes. Look for a plain, easily digestible protein powder made with minimal ingredients.

Diarrhea can deplete protein reserves over time, so combining a protein shake with banana, oats, and yogurt can help provide amino acids without irritation.

Should you avoid fruit juice in smoothies when you have diarrhea?

Whole fruits are generally recommended over fruit juices when you are experiencing diarrhea. The soluble fiber in whole fruits like banana and apple can help absorb excess water in the intestines.

However, small amounts of diluted fruit juice like apple juice, pear juice, or coconut water can help with hydration. Look for 100% fruit juices and avoid added sugars or artificial ingredients.

Some pediatricians advise against apple juice or prune juice for toddlers with diarrhea as they can make diarrhea worse. Best to avoid them or dilute with water 50/50.

Are nut milk smoothies okay if you have diarrhea?

Nut milks like almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk beverages are generally well tolerated during bouts of diarrhea. Nuts contain healthy fats and minerals that can help restore electrolyte losses.

Look for unsweetened nut milks to avoid adding excess sugars, which can make diarrhea worse. You can blend nut milks with bananas, berries, rice cereal or oats for a smoothie that provides nutrients without fiber or irritation.

One exception is coconut water, which contains sugars that may perpetuate diarrhea. Moderation is key with coconut water.

Probiotic smoothies

Probiotic-rich foods can be excellent choices for diarrhea smoothies. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain beneficial bacteria that directly populate the gut.

While research is mixed, many studies have found probiotic supplements and foods reduced the duration of acute infectious diarrhea. They help restore good bacteria wiped out by the infection or illness.

Try adding a few spoonfuls of yogurt or kefir to your smoothie along with banana, berries, oats, and nut milk for a probiotic gut soothing drink.

Anti-inflammatory smoothie options

Ginger is a root that possesses powerful anti-inflammatory compounds and has long been used to aid digestion. Turmeric also contains the potent anti-inflammatory curcumin.

Adding fresh grated ginger or turmeric powder to smoothies provides these soothing compounds along with nutrition from fruits and liquids. An example is a “golden milk” smoothie made with banana, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and nut milk.

You can also add anti-inflammatory berries like blueberries, raspberries or cherries. They contain polyphenols and anthocyanins that may calm gut inflammation.

Electrolyte replacement smoothies

Electrolyte imbalances from dehydration are a risk with prolonged diarrhea. Making smoothies with electrolyte-rich ingredients can help replenish what is lost.

Coconut water is a good choice, providing hydrating fluids along with potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphate.

Dairy provides needed electrolytes like calcium and magnesium. Oral rehydration solutions can also be added to smoothies to provide sodium, potassium, chloride, and glucose.

Aim for smoothies with calorie-containing fruits/nutrients as well as fluids and electrolytes. This helps absorption and restoration of fluid balance.

Are smoothie cleanses safe with diarrhea?

Smoothie cleanses typically involve consuming only smoothies made with fruits, vegetables, and herbs for an extended period. This is not recommended when you are experiencing diarrhea.

Cleanses dramatically increase fiber intake, which can exacerbate diarrhea. They also involve calorie restriction, which is not advised when dealing with illness and GI symptoms.

It’s best to avoid detox cleanses, juice fasts, and restrictive diets when you have diarrhea. Focus instead on smoothies made with gentle, low-fiber ingredients that provide calories, fluids, and nutrients your body needs.

Summary of tips for diarrhea smoothies

  • Use bananas, apple, rice, oats – Beneficial BRAT diet options
  • Include probiotic-rich ingredients like yogurt
  • Avoid raw veggies, caffeine, juices, fiber supplements
  • Stay hydrated with coconut water, nut milks, electrolyte solutions
  • Add protein powder for calories and nutrition
  • Include anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger or blueberries
  • Stick to a bland, low-fiber, easily digested diet
  • Avoid detox cleanses or juice fasts until diarrhea resolves

Sample smoothie recipes for diarrhea

Here are a few sample smoothie recipes that use gut-friendly ingredients to help with diarrhea:

Banana oat smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ice cubes

Berry probiotic smoothie

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk or nut milk
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Ice

Coconut rice smoothie

  • 1/2 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Ice cubes

The bottom line

Smoothies can be a good part of a bland, low-fiber diet when you are experiencing diarrhea. Focus on ingredients that provide fluids, calories, nutrients, and compounds that soothe the digestive tract.

Avoid ingredients like raw veggies, caffeine, juices, beans, and gas-producing foods. When prepared properly, smoothies can help reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea episodes.

However, if symptoms persist or you notice signs of dehydration, be sure to seek medical treatment. For severe cases of diarrhea, a doctor can provide IV fluids and electrolyte replacement if needed.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *