By James Achanyi-Fontem, camlinknewsEmail: email@example.com
Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, bamia, bhindi or gumbo, is a plant of the tropical and warm climates that produces edible green pods. The slightly immature pods are handpicked and prepared in different ways to compliment the traditional diets of many cultures. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is believed to possess an abundance of health benefits, and there is ongoing research into its potential to help manage diabetes.
Get to know this popular vegetable and learn how to choose and use its seedy pods to preserve their rich nutritional value.
10 Health Benefits of Eating Okra
1.It’s low on calories – bamia pods contain only 30 calories per 100 grams and are often recommended as a part of a weight-loss program.
2.It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
3.It can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing its absorption from the intestines – see below for more details on okra consumption and diabetes. There are other 12 foods that control type 2 diabetes.
4.It contains lots of dietary fiber and acts as a natural laxative which can help you to naturally get rid of constipation. The pods are rich in mucilage substance, which is a thick, gluey substance that lubricates the large intestine and helps with elimination. Okra’s fiber also feeds the gut’s beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and helps maintain the pH balance of your digestive tract. Increasing your fiber intake is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
5.It’s rich in vitamin A and other antioxidants – the green pods contain beta-carotene, lutein and xanthine, which together with vitamin A help preserve good vision and keep your skin fresh and healthy. Okra has been connected to cataract prevention and is praised for preventing spots and pimples.
6.Due to the abundance of antioxidants and fiber, some also connect okra with cancer prevention, especially the prevention of colorectal cancer. There are other steps that you can take to prevent colorectal cancer and there are 14 foods that can protect against cancer development in addition to okra.
7.It’s a rich source of vitamin C, which helps with the body’s immunity – okra has been linked to cough and cold prevention. Since vitamin C also act as an anti-inflammatory, okra might be good for reducing the symptoms of asthma and can be used in addition to these 10 natural treatments for asthma.
8.It contains folates – 100 grams of okra provides about 22% of the recommended daily amount. Folates (folic acid) are particularly important in the pre-conception period and during early gestation and help prevent birth defects. Foods with folate are can also help to cleanse your lungs.
9.It’s a good source of minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium (find out if you are magnesium deficient) and manganese.
10.It contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health and plays a major role in blood clotting.
Research on Okra and Diabetes
Particularly interesting is the research into the potential of okra in the treatment of diabetes. The studies have only been done on animal models so far and it’s too early to draw any conclusions, but the preliminary findings are promising.
•In 2011, researchers tested okra on rats with diabetes (published in ISRN Pharmaceutics). The pods were soaked in water and one group of rats was given the solution, while the control group received a solution of Na-carboxymethylcellulose (CMC – cellulose gum; a cellulose derivative often used as a thickener). The results showed that lady’s fingers helped reduce the absorption of glucose and lowered blood sugar levels in rats.
•Another study on rats was conducted in 2011 and provided similar results (published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciencies). This time rats were fed powdered okra seeds and peel extracts for 28 days. A significant reduction in blood sugar levels was observed compared to rats that did not receive the powder. The seed extract provided higher reduction in blood sugar than the peels, and it was established that even high doses were safe for rats (a dose of 2,000 milligrams per kilogram was used). In addition, scientists noted that okra helped reduce elevated lipids (fats) and that the lipid profile returned to near normal.
Related article: 13 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes You Shouldn’t Ignore
Some Safety Concerns for People with Diabetes
Scientists observed one important factor when testing okra on diabetic rats. Okra might improve glycemic control, but it should not be taken together with metformin hydrochloride as it reduces the drug’s absorption. Metformin is taken by many people with diabetes to keep their sugar levels under control, so it’s important not to interfere with its function until more conclusive studies are performed.
Moreover, if you have diabetes and are taking metformin, eating high amounts of okra might increase your sugar levels, so you need to keep an eye on that and discuss it with your medical team.
How to Use Okra
The fibrous, 5 to 15 centimeters long fruits are best when eaten fresh and slightly immature. If you buy pods that have been left on the plant for too long, they become woody and don’t taste nice. Avoid those that look sunken or dry and have discolored spots or cuts.
If you can, eat them on the day of purchase. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days.
Wash the pods well before you use them, as they might have been exposed to pesticides and chemicals. Wash them well with water and fruit and vegetable soap like this one. Or you can remove pesticides from your produce by washing them in a natural mixture which is mentioned in my post on How to Easily Remove Pesticides From Your Fruits and Vegetables.
Some prefer to trim the top stem end and the tip, while others use the whole pod. You may slice it as you desire and include it in your favorite African, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean or Asian dish.
•The pods are great for thickening dishes, as they become gooey when cooked. They are delicious cooked in soups with some fish, which is a Caribbean take on okra.
•For a bit of an Egyptian touch, prepare okra in a thick stew of lamb or beef. This delicacy is actually known as bamia or bamiya.
•If you want to reduce the vegetable’s mucilage and use it in drier dishes, add some lemon juice (which can be used as a natural medicine).
•Chopped or sliced pods can be fried as fritters and then mixed with other vegetables or meat.
•For a healthy version, simply steam the pods (whole or cut) and enjoy them as a side dish with rice and vegetables or meat. Steaming is one of the best cooking methods to keep the vitamins in food.
•The pods can also be pickled and preserved in the same way you pickle your other vegetables.
•If you happen to come across bamia’s leaves, you can eat those as well. They can be consumed raw in salads or cooked in soups and stews.
Other healthy fruits and vegetables you should add to your diet are:
•Broccoli – but you need to avoid these common mistakes when consuming broccoli.
•Garlic – learn how to use garlic as a medicine and how to avoid these 6 common mistakes when using garlic as a natural antibiotic.
•Pineapple – discover what happens to your body when you consume pineapple.
•Banana – There are 7 health issues that bananas can solve.
Antibiotics are a group of medicines that are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites and they are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.
Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and they don’t differentiate between good or bed bacteria. As a result every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria within your intestines. Good bacteria in the gut help people in many ways, including helping make vitamins and boosting immunity. Some researchers think that killing them off with antibiotics may be contributing to an increase in chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma and cancer.
If you do need to take antibiotics you should also take probiotics which will help to restore the good bacteria in your gut.
Nature has several other highly effective substances with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, all able to protect the human body safely and with deep healing powers.
Here are 13 natural antibiotics still in use around the world. I would like to note that this article is not intended to replace medicine, a doctor’s care or in place of medical treatment.
Goldenseal is easily grown in the United States and has become a popular natural method of killing bacteria. Uses include treating digestive problems, UTIs, eye infection and canker sores. It’s also sometimes mixed with echinacea to alleviate cold symptoms. The berberine found in it can destroy bacteria, parasites, and even strengthen white blood cells.
Use – There are several forms of Goldenseal including pills, extracted liquid and glycerites. The most popular method of ingestion is mixing liquid extract to wash over your skin since it doesn’t absorb effectively when taken orally.
Ask your doctor before taking goldenseal if you’re currently on any other type of medication. It may cause irritation of the skin and heighten it’s sensitivity to sunlight in some users. Avoid use if you have high blood pressure.
2. Oregon Grape
This antibiotic functions a lot like its close relative goldenseal. Medical practitioners are beginning to shift toward this herb because it’s less difficult to produce. The alkaloid berberine is the most effective ingredient in the root. It aides in digestion and can kill a variety of harmful microbes that cause viral sickness.
Use – People tend to use this supplement in tincture or tea form. The root can be chopped into hot water and actually tastes pretty good thanks to the alkaloids.
The dried root shouldn’t be exposed to much light or heat and should be thrown away after a year of storage. Some people experience nausea after the first few doses.
3. Andrographis Paniculata
The root and leaf of this South Asian plant has a commonplace in relieving cold symptoms. It’s also been used to treat insect bites, hemorrhoids and a wide variety of infections. The active ingredient in most andrographis supplements is called andrographolide.
Use – The best bet for this supplement is to search for capsules and tablets containing no less than 20% andrographolide. Look at the recommended dosage on the label.
Don’t use the product for longer than three months. If you experience diarrhea, upset stomach, or a headache stop taking immediately.
4. Manuka Honey
Interestingly enough this natural antibiotic comes from New Zealand bees that pollinate the manuka bush. It can be used to repair infected tissue, reduce cholesterol and treat diabetes. Methylglyoxal is the compound identified as the active ingredient primarily responsible for the antibacterial action of Manuka honey. The UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) level in manuka products measures the concentration of methylglyoxal and should be no lower than 10 UMF for medical benefit.
Use – You can apply manuka honey directly to a wound or burn for optimal results.
class=”title”>Further reading: also read my article about golden honey mixture – the strongest natural antibiotic.
Manuka honey may elevate blood sugar or cause an allergic reaction. It also interacts negatively with chemotherapy medication.
5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil extracted from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree is now becoming a widely-used natural health remedy thanks to its versatility. The most recurrent use is treating cuts, acne, toenail fungus, infections and lung issues. It works effectively in both infection preventing and healing bacterial issues. Read my article about the top 5 medicinal uses for tea tree oil.
Use – You can find tea tree oil in in many products such as toothpastes, hair products, lip balms, lotions, soaps, and pure essential oil. It shouldn’t ever be taken by mouth. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Test the oil on a small area of your skin to check for allergies prior to use.
While it may not actually ward off vampires, garlic still has much more use than simply adding flavor to your meals. It fights heart disease, cold symptoms, boosts your immune system, and has effective antibacterial properties. Research found that some sulfuric compounds in garlic contribute to heart health but the main medical component is allicin, a chemical that also contributes to its trademark smell. Garlic is one of the superfoods mentioned in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.
Use – The most popular way to use garlic is by cooking it into your meals, eating it raw or in powdered form. There are also garlic oils, extracts, and freeze-dried tablets available. Find more information in my articles how to use garlic as a medicine and avoid these 6 common mistakes when using garlic as an antibiotic.
Some people that take too much garlic may experience a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor and diarrhea. These side effects are often worse with raw garlic. Also garlic might prolong bleeding, so stop taking garlic at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. It can also interfere with certain medications.
Native Americans have used echinacea as a way to fight off infections and treat injury for over 400 years. Studies have revealed its ability to lessen pain, diminish inflammation, and act as an antiviral as well as an antioxidant. The glycoproteins, volatile oils, flavonoids, and alkamides in the root all help treat athletes foot, UTIs, ear infections, and injuries that heal slowly.
Use – Echinacea is available in tinctures, pills, extracts, and ointments. It’s commonly found in capsules and tablets mixed in with other natural health supplements. The root can also be put into hot tea. See here the recipe for echinacea tea to boost your immune system.
Some supplement companies use misleading labels with products that contain very little echinacea so read carefully. Avoid taking if you have diabetes, HIV, liver troubles or multiple sclerosis. Echinacea can also cause a rare allergic reaction in some people.
8. Pau D’Arco
This supplement is extracted from the wood and bark of the Pau D’Arco tree. Evidence suggests that it can help treat intestinal worms, ulcers, yeast infection, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The main chemical extracted from the tree for medical purposes is called lapachol.
Use – Pau d’arco is sold as tablets, dried bark tea and tincture. The chemicals that give pau d’arco its medicinal effects don’t dissolve well in water, so a tea is not recommended.
Exercise extra caution when using this natural antibiotic. High doses can result in serious diarrhea, nausea and internal bleeding. It interferes with medications that slow blood clotting, so talk to your physician before using a Pau D’Arco product.
Ginger is a common staple in the culinary world that has a prevalent presence in holistic medicine. It’s considered an effective way to ward off nausea brought on by motion sickness or pregnancy. The phenol compounds like shogaols and gingerols are the main medicinal component in the root that contribute to the anti-inflammatory benefits as well as lowering cholesterol.
Use – Ginger is best known for use as a spice in the kitchen. You can also find ginger extracts, tinctures, capsules and oils. A popular method is brewing hot ginger tea and you can find here how to make anti-inflammatory and pain relief ginger turmeric tea, and find more information in my previous post how to use ginger as a medicine. Adding ginger to your diet is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Pregnant women should consult with a doctor before taking a concentrated amount of ginger as in ginger supplement (ginger is considered safe when used in amounts found in food), and ginger should not be given to children under 2. Ginger may also interact with certain prescription medications. For example it may not be safe if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning drugs. Therefore talk with your doctor before taking it.
10. Olive Leaf Extract
The fruit, leaves, and seeds of the olive tree are packed with natural health benefits. It can treat infections, both viral and bacterial, and also increases healthy purifying bacteria in the stomach. The polyphenol called oleuropein and fatty acids found in the plant are the main components in medical use. Find more information in my article about the health benefits of olive leaf including how to make your own olive leaf extract.
Use – Olive leaf extract is most effective as a pill, topical cream, and liquid extract. It can be applied directly to the skin or consumed with a suggested maximum of 60g per day.
Generally one of the safest options on this list. The pollen created by the plant will sometimes irritate people with seasonal allergies.
11. Oil of Oregano
The leaf of the oregano plant has been used for a variety of medical purposes. The main use lies within respiratory health by treating symptoms of coughing, asthma and bronchitis. When the carvacrol is extracted from oregano it has the potential to fight off parasites, eliminate bacteria and alleviate acne.
Use – Oregano oil can be mixed with hand sanitizer, vaporized into the air, rubbed onto the skin, or taken in pill form. 600 mg a day is sufficient for stomach parasites.
Oregano is relatively harmless when found in recipes for cooking. In medical amounts it can cause upset stomach if too much is taken and can interfere with medications containing lithium. Also pregnant women should avoid taking it. There’s also potential for allergic reactions.
A relative to ginger, turmeric has a lineage of antibiotic use. It’s been suggested to help with stomach ulcers, indigestion, heart disease, and viral as well as bacterial infections. The curcumin found in the root of the plant is the main source of antioxidant and antibiotic benefits.
Use – Turmeric root can be consumed raw but is most commonly dried and powdered. The powder can either be ingested in a drink, sprinkled onto food, or simply found in a capsule. There are also tinctures dissolved in alcohol and liquid extracts of turmeric. Find more informetion in the article about the health benefits of turmeric, including a recipe for a golden milk.
Turmeric is considered a generally food safe herb but when used too much it can cause an upset stomach and even ulcers. If you have surgery scheduled within two weeks turmeric should be avoided because of the blood thinning properties. Also taking turmeric by mouth in medicinal amounts is likely unsafe in pregnancy.
13. Coconut oil
The saturated fats found in coconut oil contain antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties which strengthen your immune system. Coconut oil can further benefit the skin by treating and preventing skin infections and also helps in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and many more. Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties which help to fight indigestion-causing bacteria, fungi and parasites and has been effectively used to prevent and cure candida. Some of the most promising research in recent years has been in the area of using lauric acid or monolaurin, both derived from coconut oil, in treatments for antibiotic resistant super germs. One study was conducted at Georgetown University in 2005 and found the these substances can inhibit the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms. Lauric acid in coconut oil in combination with oregano oil, has even been found more effective in fighting the staph bacteria than antibiotics. Find more information in the article about the many health benefits of coconut oil.
Use – Coconut oil can be added to smoothies, hot drinks, stir fries or as a spread on a toast.
Always opt for organic, virgin coconut oil and avoid all the refined stuff. Coconut oil is safe for most people if used in amounts commonly found in foods, and despite the many health benefits of coconut oil, like many things in life, moderation is the key. This means that up to 3 tbsp. daily per adult is an appropriate dose.
Mother Nature gives us great natural alternative to antibiotics – next time the you feel unwell try these natural alternatives to antibiotics. if you are pregnant or breastfeeding please consult with your doctor before using any of these herbal antibiotics.
We are very used to quick fixes these days, and we reach for antibiotics too readily at times. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but they don’t discriminate between the harmful and the beneficial ones. By eating a diet constituted of processed foods rich in sugars, and overloading our bodies with stress, we further destroy the natural balance in our gastrointestinal tract.
When we take antibiotics and other medication, we change the gut’s pH (acid/alkaline balance) and let the harmful bacteria take over. Usually, around 400 species of bacteria live side by side in your stomach and intestines – that’s more bacterial organisms than there are known stars is the sky. However, when the pH changes, yeasts, parasites, E. coli and similar harmful bacteria can hijack your body and cause conditions such as candidiasis (known to most modern women), leaky gut syndrome, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eczema, Crohn’s disease, to name a few. So it is extremely important to prevent that from happening, and to keep our digestive tract in a state of balance. This can be particularly challenging after a course of antibiotics.
•The first thing you need to do is to provide dietary support to the remaining beneficial bacteria. You do this by eating prebiotics, which are non-digestible fiber that stimulate the growth and/or activity of advantageous bacteria that colonize the large bowel. In other words, you need to eat lots of raw, preferably organic, vegetables and fruits. Some suggest that after taking antibiotics, your diet should comprise 80% of fruit and vegetables, priority given to vegetables.
•Second, avoid all processed sugars as they are food for yeast (such as candida) and bad bacteria. Even fruit that is high in sugar, and different healthier sugar varieties (honey, fruit juice) should be limited while you recover from antibiotics.
•Next, a healthy digestive system needs probiotics, also known as beneficial bacteria. They balance the gut and support its function by restoring healthy pH levels and fighting pathological bacteria. Very conveniently, fermented foods abound in beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which are the force behind fermentation. A cup of fizzy kefir, a helping of old-fashioned sauerkraut, a portion of natural yoghurt, will all provide a dose of probiotics that can go to work once they reach your gut. Other examples of fermented foods include kombucha, miso and tempeh. But be careful what you buy. It can be difficult to get your hands on food that has been fermented in the traditional way, and many supermarket-sold products undergo thermal processing which kills the good bacteria. So read the labels carefully, or you’ll be gulping down sugary yogurts and pasteurized pickles that can do you more harm than good. You can read more about fermented foods in my previous article. Eating fermented foods regularly is also one of the 70 habits featured in the e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
To sum it up, after taking antibiotics, make sure you eat right, and avoid being naughty. Load up on greens and vegetables, skip processed sugars, and eat fermented foods galore. In this way you’ll repopulate your gut with good bacteria and restore your immune function. 70% of immune system sits in your digestive tract, so it’s definitely worth the effort!
Unfortunately, everyone will suffer from some form of diarrhea at some point in their lives. We all know that it can have a major impact on our daily activities and leave us feeling weak, drained, and sometimes even embarrassed. Understanding more about the condition and knowing how to get rid of diarrhea can help to lessen its impact on your life.
In this article I am going to look at home remedies for diarrhea that are supported by research. In order to know how to get rid of diarrhea naturally, you need to know what causes diarrhea.
The Causes of Diarrhea
When you have diarrhea, your stools are very loose and watery and you may also experience abdominal pain and nausea with it. You may have to use the bathroom more frequently during the day.
Diarrhea is caused because your digestive system isn’t working properly. Some of the reasons for experiencing an upset stomach are:
•Viral or bacterial infections
•Anxiety and/or stress
Usually, a bout of diarrhea that has been caused by one or more of these symptoms will only last a few days. However, sometimes diarrhea can last for many weeks and it can be a sign of a more serious digestive disorder.
Dr. Thomas Lamont, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that chronic diarrhea is when a person has three or more loose stools per day for at least 4 weeks.1 The reasons for chronic diarrhea can be:
•Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
•Inflammatory bowel disease
If you suffer from chronic diarrhea, you should always visit your doctor because it requires more professional management to relieve the symptoms. If you suffer from IBS, then read my article about the best natural treatments to relieve IBS.
Let’s have a look at what you can do to treat diarrhea if it comes on suddenly. There are many natural, home remedies to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and get rid of it quicker.
How to Get Rid of Diarrhea
Most cases of diarrhea will clear up within a few days. However, there are some foods and natural supplements that you can take to help you cure diarrhea naturally.
Foods to eat when you have diarrhea
Yogurt is a great food to help you get rid of diarrhea. Make sure that your yogurt is natural without artificial sweeteners and flavorings and that it contains live active cultures (probiotics) like lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium. These bacteria help to restore balance to your gut.
You can tell if the yogurt has these bacteria because usually it will be mentioned on the packaging or be called “live yogurt” or “yogurt with live & active cultures.”
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology showed that fermented milk products containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei were effective in the prevention of antibiotic-related diarrhea and can also help if the diarrhea is caused by bacterial infections.2
Eating yogurt is especially important if your diarrhea is a result of taking antibiotics. In fact, if you take antibiotics, there are 3 things you should do to restore healthy intestinal flora.
Other studies into the effects of probiotics have shown that they are effective in treating and preventing diarrhea that connected with viral infections like the rota virus.3
Ginger has been used for centuries to provide relief from gastrointestinal problems and it’s also an excellent natural remedy for diarrhea. Ginger is a wonderful natural ingredient which helps to reduce stomach cramps. It also contains flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The journal of Digestive Diseases and Sciences examined the use of ginger in gastrointestinal disorders and found that it can help in cases of diarrhea to reduce stomach spasms.4
To use ginger as a home remedy for diarrhea, you can make a cup of delicious ginger tea. All you have to do is slice a small piece of ginger and add it to a cup of water. Boil the water in a pan for a few minutes and strain the ginger tea into a cup.
Alternatively, you can grate a small piece of ginger, mix it with some raw natural honey (the best type is Manuka honey) and eat it.
You can read more about the benefits of ginger in my articles on how to use ginger as a medicine and on how to make anti-inflammatory and pain relief turmeric ginger tea.
Bananas and foods containing soluble fiber
Bananas have many health benefits, and are another natural ingredient that can help you get rid of diarrhea faster. This is because bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber which is good for the digestion.
Many people associate fiber with making stools looser and helping them to move through the digestive system. However, Dr. David Goldstein, a gastroenterologist, says that soluble fiber absorbs excess fluid and can help to firm up a loose stool.5
So, foods containing soluble fiber can help to stop diarrhea. Other foods containing soluble fiber which can be good if you have diarrhea are:
Carrot soup has shown to have anti diarrheic effect on infantile diarrhea which is one of the most common diseases in infants and toddlers.
In the study, a carrot soup was made by washing, scraping and finely chopping 500g carrots. The carrots were pressure cooked with 150 ml of water for about 15 minutes. The entire pulp was then passed through a fine strainer and diluted with hot water up to one liter, and a little salt was added. Fresh soup was made every day. Eat this soup fresh daily for a few days when suffering from diarrhea.
It is important to remember to eat just small portions and ‘listen’ to your body.
Chamomile tea has many benefits and uses, and it’s also an excellent home remedy to stop diarrhea. This is because chamomile tea has properties that can help to reduce oxidants in the gut and reduce stomach spasms.
Clinical trials have shown that a chamomile extract can help alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea6 and studies into the properties of chamomile show that it has a good all-around effect for soothing gastrointestinal conditions.7
Other Foods that Can Help you Get Rid of Diarrhea
You can also eat small amounts of other foods to help relieve your diarrhea symptoms. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends eating small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals. Salty foods can help to restore the essential salts that the body needs and reduce dehydration.8
Some also recommend to eat products made from refined white flour (although in your regular diet a wholemeal products are recommended). This is because the insoluble fiber (from whole grains) that can make stools looser has been removed. So, white pasta, white rice, and cereals can help. You can also eat vegetables, but you should remove the skins beforehand.
The BRAT diet (eating only bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) used to be recommended by all pediatricians for children with diarrhea. While those foods in themselves are good to eat if you have diarrhea, over an extended period of time they won’t provide all the nutritional value that is needed to help the digestive system recover.
Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children with diarrhea should have an age-appropriate well-balanced diet with a mix of fruits, vegetables, meat, yogurt, and complex carbohydrates.9
One of the most serious complications of diarrhea, especially in babies, children and the elderly, is dehydration which can have adverse effect on the body.
When we have diarrhea we lose, not only a lot of water, but also essential minerals and salts from the body. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. After each bout of diarrhea, it is good to drink a glass of water.
Dr. Joshua Evans, physician and expert on dehydration, recommends sipping small amounts of water as frequently as possible if you have nausea along with diarrhea. He also recommends taking rehydration solutions to replace the essentials salts the body requires. If you don’t have rehydration solutions at hand, then sports drinks can be helpful.10
Supplements to help Get Rid of Diarrhea
There are many dietary supplements on the market which can help you to keep a healthy digestive system and get rid of diarrhea. Let’s have a look at some of these.
I’ve already mentioned how useful probiotics can be used to cure diarrhea. You can also buy probiotics as a supplement and use them to restore the natural flora in the gut.
Most studies agree that probiotic supplements are effective in treating diarrhea that is caused by antibiotic use11, virus infections (rota virus) 12, and bacterial infections (C. diff). 13
So, if you are taking antibiotics, it is a good idea to take a course of probiotic supplements to make sure that the antibiotics don’t interfere with your digestive system. You can also read my article about the 9 reasons to take probiotics and why it’s so good for you.
Studies have shown that taking peppermint oil capsules can help to relieve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one of which is diarrhea.14 It is important to take peppermint oil only in capsule form. The capsules allow the peppermint oil to bypass the stomach and be released in the small intestine.
Peppermint oil capsules can be bought as a dietary supplement from many health stores or online stores.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that can be used as a home remedy for various forms of diarrhea. Although it is classed as a yeast, it acts in the gut the same way that probiotics work to restore balance to your digestive system. Research into this yeast has shown that it can help to treat antibiotic-related diarrhea and acute diarrhea in adults.15
Saccharomyces boulardii can be bought as a dietary supplement from many online stores like this one.
What to Avoid If You Have Diarrhea
If you have diarrhea, you should also avoid certain foods.
Very often dairy products (except live yogurts), fatty foods, and high fiber foods can make your symptoms worse.
Also, foods like beans, broccoli, prunes, and peppers can increase gas and irritate your digestive system.
You should also avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and sodas.
There is also a term called “Traveler’s Diarrhea”. Often, traveling to foreign countries where foods are different and standards of hygiene are lower can cause an upset stomach. Therefore, it is always a good idea to avoid drinking tap water and to avoid having ice in your drinks.
Make sure that all food is cooked properly and be careful of raw seafood. If you eat raw fruit and vegetables, it is best if you peel them before eating.
Having a supply of probiotics with you can also help you to get rid of traveler’s diarrhea.
When to See a Doctor if you Have Diarrhea
If diarrhea lasts for more than 3 days in children and the elderly and 5 days in adults, you should see a doctor. Also, if the diarrhea is accompanied by a fever, weakness, and severe abdominal pain, or if you have blood in your stool, you should seek medical advice immediately.
Documentation Officer at Brooke, IndiaBy James Achanyi-Fontem, CEO Cameroon Link
India, the sub-continent of Asia is home to an estimated 1.2 million working horses, donkeys and mules. India has been a key country for our work with Brooke India established in 1992 - an affiliate with its own board of trustees. I discovered Vartika Singh during a workshop organised in New Delhi, India with the support of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), FIAN India and FIAN Germany. The Executive Director of Cameroon Link met Vartika Singh for the first time in 2008. I have visited India three times since then. After separation from New Delhi, Vartika created the first FB address used today. She did this, to encourage me to start using FB and to remain in contact with friends. Since then, we have remained friends till today. The truth is that I lost contact with all other FIAN workshop participants. Vartika is an open-minded woman with exceptional character, as proven in the interview delivered to Brooke below. You are welcome Vartika…What time does your alarm go off and how do you start your day?
It depends on whether it’s summer or winter. In summer it goes off at around 6am, while the winter gives a cushion of another half an hour’s sleep. I get up, brush my teeth, freshen up and then do Pranayam followed by yoga. This small exercise regime keeps me active all the day until I come back from work. Then I cook my breakfast and pack my lunch for the office.
What are you responsible for in your role at Brooke?
I collect and write case studies, significant and most significant change stories and prepare reports for donors and internal audiences. I also support the field team in developing concept notes which can be proposed to donors for obtaining restricted funding.
How did you get your job?
Being an animal lover, I had been looking for an opportunity to work for an organisation where I could continue my passion alongside my work. I had heard about Brooke and its generous work with working animals. I had experience in documentation and, after completing my Masters in social work, Brooke had a vacancy so I grabbed the opportunity and applied. In September I will have been at Brooke for five years and it has been a memorable journey.
What's your typical day?
When I’m in the office I usually plan each day so that it’s rarely interrupted by unplanned activities. I normally reach the office at 9:30am, look at the list of activities to be carried out that day and then allot time for each. Sometimes I have to perform other tasks and so I keep a buffer for them. This can happen when some urgent work crops up but I always manage to complete tasks based on their priority. There have been occasions when I’ve had to prove I’m capable of managing the pressure and that’s when I give my best.
At 1pm all of my 25-30 colleagues gather together to eat lunch. We share each other’s food and relish the different tastes. Afterward I normally go for a walk with some of my colleagues. During the day, I get to speak to the team in the field over the phone and support them in preparing the draft reports/case studies. By the end of the day, I am able to prepare either a report or a case study or any of the required documents.
When I’m out in the field my day is completely different. Here I get to see animals whose welfare status has been improved through their owners’ awareness or through services the animal has received from the service providers Brooke works with. I also get to meet the women of the equine owning families who have become empowered to come forward and speak their minds. I can easily see the difference between the women, owners and animals we have started working with recently and those we have been working for a number of years. ...love towards a living being can subdue self-interest, despite poverty.
What’s your most memorable work moment?
Whenever I go out into the field to collect stories, I get the chance to meet animal owners and to live their lives for that moment. I have met many owners for whom their animal is not only a source of income - after the animal has grown old or is no longer able to work, these owners will continue to take care of it. This relationship with animals is not money driven, but emotional. This shows that love towards a living being can subdue self-interest, despite poverty.
What's the worst part of your job?
There can be nothing bad about a job which is so close to my heart.
What's the best part of your job?
My contribution towards bringing funds into my country for the most deserving animals in need. It feels good to be able to highlight the status of working animals in my country by writing reports, case studies and concept notes and bringing them before the donors who support us greatly.
What would be your Plan B? What would you be doing if you didn't work at Brooke?
Being with animals is something which gives me immense pleasure. I envision starting a shelter/home for stray or working animals in the future. At this early stage of my career I do not have enough capital to give my dream shape, but I know I will be able to pursue it soon. I have friends who equally feel for the suffering of animals and we share our ideas and thoughts on how we can fulfil our dreams. I am confident that in a decade I will have my own shelter/home for the animals.
What do you do after work?
After leaving the office, I go back home and have a snack and then rest for a while. I then go for a walk and spend time with stray dogs. I like feeding and watering them, especially the pups. I know it is not possible to adopt one as I cannot spare much time so I try to be with them whenever I can. Some days I go to the shops or watch a movie with friends.
What makes you proud to be Brooke?
“Empathy towards working animals” is something which my organisation has instilled in me. Before, my inclination was only towards stray animals but Brooke has made me sensitive towards other needy animals as well.
In our last communication contact this is what Vartika wrote: “Hello James, I always get delighted hearing from you :) even I keep following your activities in one way or the other...if you sometime visit Delhi we may meet and discuss again. It has been ages learning changes in the areas you are contributing and to see how it may be useful in India's context. You might like to read my interview on my organization's website: https://www.thebrooke.org/about-brooke/brooke-people/proud-be-brooke/vartika-singh-documentation-officer”
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.