Gastroenteritis diet is recommended for those ailing from gastroenteritis which is characterized chiefly by severe diarrhea and vomiting caused due to an inflammation of the human gastrointestinal tract owing to bacterial/viral/parasitic infection. Though, generally, owing to the inflammation and vulnerability of the gastrointestinal tract a strictly bland diet is a must, the severity of the disease determines the exact diet recommendations made for the patients. Sufferers of the acute condition are strictly put on liquids while those infected moderately or mildly are put on a diet consisting of easily digestible semi-solid/ solid foods in addition to the liquids.
Gastroenteritis is also referred to as stomach flu or gastric flu owing to the resemblance of the disease to the conventional flu in one of its causal factors being a pathogenic virus. Cleaning the hands thoroughly with a cleansing agent and water is a basic precaution that one can take against being infected by the diease producing organisms.
Main Features of Stomach Flu Diet
The gastroenteritis diet can be classified into four broad categories:
- Clear Liquid Diet- As the diarrhea results in the loss of body fluids, clear liquids are given to replenish the deficit. However, the rehydration is mainly achieved by rehydration therapies, which are medical procedures carried out under the supervision of a certified medical practitioner. A strictly clear liquid diet is prescribed for those suffering from an acute condition of the disease and it essentially comprises juices of fruits such as apple, cranberries or grapes, clear bouillon, tea, fruit ice,Gatorade and salt. Under more serve conditions of nausea, a patient can have ice chips and liquids. Consumption of soft drinks, hard drinks or caffeinated beverages is strictly discouraged when the infection is severe.
- Full Liquid Gastroenteritis Diet- When the severity of the infection decreases, the patient can be put on a diet of clear and bland vegetable soups or broth, carbonated and decaffeinated beverage, farina , and cereals like cream of wheat. Cocoa drink, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg can also be consumed.
- Solid Foods- The solid foods that can be included with the clear liquid diet when health conditions improve include toasted bread, banana ( to compensate for the loss of potassium along with the body fluids). Boiled potato and apples, and cottage and mildly flavored cheese are other items that can be added to the menu. Soft fish, meat, poached egg, soft and light cakes without nuts or raisins, small amounts of butter or cream can be included in the diet when the infection is cured to a large extent and the health of the patient is almost normalized. In any case, if the earlier severe symptoms relapse, the patient will have to revert back to the strictly clear or full liquid diet depending upon the intensity of the infection.
Diet Recommendations for Children Suffering from Gastroenteritis:
1. The normal lactose diet through breast-feeding or formula feeding (depending on what the infant is habituated to) can be continued even during the malady.
2. Those fed with semi-solid or solid foods can also be given the same even during their sickness
3. High simple-sugar foods should be omitted as they may aggravate the diarrhea owing to the heightened osmotic pressure.
Foods to Avoid When Suffering from Gastric Flu
- High-Fiber foods - they increase the frequency of bowel movements.
- Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages- they help increasing the dehydration of the body.
- Acidic foods- they tend to irritate the inflamed digestive tract.
- Allergy towards milk or dairy products may happen and so people suffering from gastroenteritis are recommended to consume lactose products in restricted amounts.
- Foods high in simple sugars
It may be noted that this diet recommendation is only a guideline and one should consult a physician with authentic credentials regarding the actual diet that he/she must follow when experiencing the medical condition.
Gastric Flu Diet: Trivia
Conventionally the BRAT diet (comprising of Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) was recommended for people ailing from gastro-enteric problems such as diarrhea, but now owing to deficit in nutrients, the diet is no longer recommended as the primary diet to be followed during the period, especially for children.
CRAM diet (Cereal, Rice, Applesauce and Milk) is an alternative diet that is being considered as it includes more of protein and essential fat.
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