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Soothing Foods for Diarrhea and Upset Stomach: Your Natural Healing Guide

Updated: May 2

Dealing with an upset stomach or the unpleasant experience of diarrhea can really put a damper on your day. However, traditional knowledge and modern nutrition offer a variety of foods and remedies that can help restore your digestive balance and get you back on the path to feeling great.

Diarrhea makes me sad

Understanding Diarrhea: Natural Responses and Chronic Conditions Diarrhea can occur as a natural response by your body to clear out excessive or contaminated food; this is often a sign of acute diarrhea. When it becomes chronic, it could be due to weaknesses in the digestive system, such as a deficient Spleen Qi or excessive Dampness.

The Best Foods for Diarrhea and Upset Stomach Relief Whether you're facing acute or chronic digestive disturbances, including the following foods in your diet can be greatly beneficial:

Diarrhea food

For general cases of diarrhea, foods like rice or barley broth, blackberry, and umeboshi plum can be beneficial. Stick to small, well-chewed meals to ease digestion. Gruels or congees made of rice, barley, or oats are helpful and soothing, and ensure that you drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Diarrhea will often manifest with heat or cold signs, and different remedies may be called for accordingly.

Cool Comforts: Best Foods for "Cold" Diarrhea

If the chills are your companion and the trips to the loo come with a watery stool, your body's waving the flag for "cold" diarrhea. What you need are foods that'll warm you up from the inside.

  • Spice Route to Wellness: Warming spices like red, black, or cayenne pepper, and dried ginger can be real heroes, stoking the internal fire to combat that internal icy feeling.

  • Stoking the Digestive Fire: Oats can provide a gentle, warming energy that's much needed. Pair them with chicken eggs, which are not only warming but also nourishing.

  • Ginseng & Cinnamon: If you're feeling brave and seeking a potent warmth, Chinese or Korean ginseng and cinnamon bark could do the trick splendidly.

Fiery Fixes: Best Foods for "Hot" Diarrhea

Now, if the opposite is true, and your bouts of diarrhea come with a burning sensation, yellow tongue coating, or a preference for cold drinks, you've got "hot" diarrhea on hand.

  • Cooling Down: Combat the heat with mung beans, cucumber, and pineapple to bring in some balance.

  • Mild Flavors Lead the Way: Try soothing foods that won't stoke the flames - millet congee, persimmon, and tofu are excellent choices for easing "hot" diarrhea [4].

  • Herbal Help: Peppermint and nettle leaf offer a refreshing and cooling sensation to dial down the heat while supporting digestion.

Diarrhea venn diagram by MJK
Illustration by MJK

Foods to Avoid to Help Your Stomach Settle Just as some foods can help, others might hinder your recovery. It's best to avoid honey, spinach, cow's milk, certain fruits like apricot and plum (except for umeboshi plum), sesame seeds, oils, and any foods that are difficult to digest when dealing with diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Tips for Consumption Small, well-chewed meals are the way forward during these trying times. Not only do they facilitate easier digestion, but they also help the stomach gently regain its strength. When incorporating solid foods, ensure they are cooked until soft and avoid complex or heavy meals until your stomach is ready.

When navigating these food choices, listen to your body and consider consulting with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist to ensure that you're selecting the best options for your specific situation. Remember, the traditional advice is a starting point, and individual responses to certain remedies can vary.


Pitchford, P. (2003). Chapter 30: The Stomach and Intestines. In Healing with Whole Foods (3rd Edition, pp. 383–383). essay, North Atlantic Books.


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