"An army marches on its stomach." -- Napoleon Bonaparte
Needless to say, stomach health is of utmost significance to ensure our overall well-being. The food that we consume, if not digested properly, could lead to various ailments, including malabsorption of nutrients, which can make you feel weaker. Have you noticed that when you feel sick in your tummy, your entire day goes for a toss? During summers, the risk of stomach ailments double owing to a host of reasons. This is when diarrhea, a digestive disorder, is also on the rise. Though any one can fall prey to it at any point in time, it is most common in summers when chances of getting food infections and food-borne ailments are at the highest. According to Dr. Rupali Datta, Chief Nutritionist, "There can be many causes of diarrhea - from food infections, allergies and food intolerance to laxative abuse, stomach surgery or even stress. However, the most common form of it is seen as a result of eating unhygienic food, or consumption of food items to which the body is intolerant." According to her, stress can also trigger digestive disorders as our entire body is closely tied to our psychological health.
Here are some pointers to help you prevent diarrhea:
- During summers, it remains imperative to keep a check on the quantity of food that you consume.
- Always eat light and in small portions.
- Try and avoid items which are too greasy or heavy for digestion.
- Add lots of water, fluids and yoghurt to your diet.
- Avoid eating cut fruits and salads from outside unless extremely sure of the quality of the place.
- Juices should also be taken under caution, be conscious of the hygiene of the place.
- "Do not eat stale food, even when home cooked. In summers, your regular ingredients have the tendency to go bad at double the speed. It is therefore advisable to cook fresh and eat," advises Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath.(Also Read: 7 Amazing Home Remedies for Indigestion)
Taking care of your tummy
Diarrhea can literally suck away all possible energy from your body. It usually manifests itself in the form of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and repeated need to go to the washroom leading to watery stool. At times the condition restricts the patient from eating or drinking anything, as after every intake, the patient may feel nauseated or bloated. "There is already more than enough loss of fluids and electrolytes from the body. Not eating or drinking will only worsen the condition. Keep sipping on fluids and eat soft, bland food in intervals," adds Dr. Rupali.
Keep the following points in mind for speedy recovery:
- See your doctor immediately.
- In the meanwhile, keep your hydration levels up.
- Sip on a mixture of electrolyte powder diluted in one litre of water.
- You can also make a blend of sugar, lemon juice and salt in water and keep having this in intervals.
- Always remember, too much of sugar will hamper your stomach, so try to keep a balance.(Also Read: 12 Amazing Home Remedies For Acidity)
- Sodium and potassium will help in getting the digestion back to normal; therefore items like bananas are recommended in treating diarrhea and upset stomach.
- Diluted apple juice can be taken, but not much. Warm clear soups, clear chicken broth, buttermilk and curd should be added in the diet.
- Dairy milk should be avoided. However, soy milk and its products like tofu and curd can be consumed.
- Skinned apples can be eaten. Apples are good source of pectin which has binding properties. Stewed apples are also a good option.
- "In case of vomiting accompanying the condition, consuming chilled fluids can help," notes Dr. Rupali.
- Have lightly brewed green tea but no caffeine.
"Keeping a check on your regular water intake is very important. Do not have water from anywhere, carry your own water bottle. In case mineral water is not available, double boiling regular water is always advisable," adds Dr. Gautam.
Quarter teaspoon of jaiphal (nutmeg powder) can be added to green tea and consumed to relieve the stomach. If you can get your hands on kutaj fruit, there is nothing like it in taming an upset stomach, dysentery, stomach flu and diarrhea. Its medical name itself is holarrhena antidysenterica. Its bark and stem can be used to treat loose motions. You can get its powdered bark and mix a teaspoon with curd.
Another popular home remedy suggested by many experts is a combination of isabgol (psyllium husk) and yoghurt. "Just a teaspoon of isabgol mixed with curd can help you feel better. The ingredient is hydroscopic in nature. It absorbs extra water and helps in solidifying the stool," concludes Dr. Ashutosh.
Summer is the time to make a splash and get lost in the colours of the season. Keep a check on your diet and water to prevent food infections. Stay protected and of course, have a blast!