Astringent diet: what is it, food and menu

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Have you heard of the astringent diet and do not know exactly what it consists of? Well, it is a specific diet that aims to help solve different gastrointestinal problems, mainly diarrhea. For example, if for some reason you suffer from this type of evacuation, either due to a viral or bacterial infection, due to eating spoiled food, an intolerance or a disease that affects the digestive system, well you know that the bowel movements are excessively frequent and the stools are not very solid. Therefore, starting an astringent diet is one of the first measures you should take to try to stop the episode of diarrhea. Of course, if it lasts over time and is accompanied by other symptoms, such as: pain, vomiting or fever.

Astringent diet what is it, food and menu

If at any given moment you need to resort to it, in. we explain what the astringent diet is, the foods allowed and the appropriate menu. Keep reading!

What is the astringent diet

Do you want to know the meaning of astringent? Well, everything that causes constriction and dryness in organic tissues and, therefore, upset stomach is qualified in this way. For this reason, there are medications that stop diarrhea, but it should be remembered that these should not be taken as a rule without consulting a specialist, because episodes of this type are a response of the body that tries to expel, through the stool, the substances that are causing damage to the digestive system. When the discomfort in the stomach manifests itself in the form of frequent bowel movements, the astringent diet in children or adults is an effective help, since it fulfills a double objective:

  • It provides the body with the micronutrients it needs, also allowing it to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which is essential since diarrhea implies a severe loss of liquids.
  • As it is based on light and easily digestible foods, it helps the stomach and intestines to recover from the episode and, progressively, to function properly again.

Phases of the astringent diet

The astringent diet should always be adapted to the circumstances of each person. Basically, though, the idea is, above all, to limit your intake of foods that are higher in fat and fiber. When the diarrhea subsides, you should reintroduce the foods typical of a balanced diet until it is completely normalized. These are the most important phases:

Fasting phase

At first, it is normal for the body to reject the intake of any food, but this first phase of fasting should be as short as possible, always drinking enough water.

Phase of the first liquids

The second phase of an astringent diet consists of the introduction of the first liquids, introducing more and more consistent ones (puree type), as the body retains them. Rice water, infusions, defatted broths or homemade lemonade (natural) are the base.

Solid food phase

Finally, in a third phase, it is time to start eating appropriate solid foods, always in small quantities and several times a day, as pointed out by the Spanish Digestive System Foundation (FEAD) [1], which also highlights the importance of eating slowly and chewing well. In addition, you must also eat food at the correct temperature.

Astringent diet foods

Wondering what to eat on a bland diet or what foods work for diarrhea? In general, the foods typical of an astringent diet are those that are nutritious and, in addition, are easily digested, without overexerting the stomach.

According to the different groups of astringent foods, the most appropriate are:

  • Lean pieces of beef: tenderloin, sirloin, etc.
  • Low-fat meats: chicken (without skin), turkey, rabbit.
  • White fish: hake, sole, monkfish, rooster.
  • Low-fat sausages: cooked ham and turkey breast.
  • Dairy: yogurts, fresh cheese and skimmed and lactose-free milk.
  • Cereals: rice.
  • Astringent fruits, vegetables and vegetables: potato, carrot, pumpkin, banana, apple and quince (fruits always ripe and without skin). In this article we detail the main Fruits for diarrhea.

Forbidden foods in the astringent diet:

  • Legumes and different types of cabbage.
  • Carbonated drinks, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea
  • Fats, industrial pastries and ultra-processed foods.

The way to cook the different foods is another important key for the astringent diet to fulfill its function. At the beginning, the ideal is to take foods made with simple cooking and with a minimum content of fats or oils. Boiled, steamed or grilled are the best ways to eat them with the certainty that they will not cause damage.

Astringent diet menu example

An episode of diarrhea can have a very variable duration depending on what causes it. In any case, the astringent diet will help, because in mild cases the results will be progressively noticeable after a few days. For this reason, when food intake is already tolerated, different menus can be prepared with the foods that we have indicated and keeping in mind those that should be avoided. An example of a diet for gastroenteritis can be:

  • Breakfast: yogurt or milk, preferably fermented, that is, that provide beneficial bacteria for the intestinal flora. Breakfast can be completed with a few slices of cooked ham, turkey or a small piece of bread (not whole meal) with quince.
  • Mid-morning: an infusion with a piece of fruit of those indicated.
  • Lunch: mashed potatoes with carrots or pumpkin and boiled white rice with grilled chicken breast seasoned with aromatic herbs. Other options can be: tapioca soup or boiled pasta with pieces of cooked or serrano ham, seasoned with olive oil (little) and aromatic herbs (without tomato sauce).
  • Snack: a curd, a portion of fresh cheese or a banana.
  • Dinner: baked white fish with a side of baked potatoes or an omelette made with very little oil.

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