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Does fasting cause diarrhea is a question you might have asked yourself a couple of times before. The answer is yes, fasting may cause diarrhea, even if it’s not common. 2

Millions of people around the world fast for reasons that vary between religious or health beliefs. Although Fasting has many health benefits for different body parts1, it is a double-edged sword in which it might cause dehydration, headache, heartburn, Dehydration, and other side effects.9

1. Consuming more probiotic-rich foods

Probiotics refer to the yeasts and live bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal tract. The health benefits of probiotics include2: Treating and preventing constipation

✓  Treating and preventing diarrhea

✓  Preventing and treating vaginal infections

✓  Reducing H. pylori, the cause of ulcers

Some of the foods rich in probiotics are3:

✓  Fermented vegetables, such as kimchi and sauerkraut

✓  Kefir

✓  Miso

✓  Tempeh

Taking probiotic supplements can also support your diet and improve your gut health.

2. Adding more prebiotic foods to your diet

Probiotics feed on prebiotics, or carbohydrates that are non-digestible. When prebiotics are in your gut, they encourage more good bacteria in the microbiome4.

Examples of prebiotic-rich foods are:

✓  Asparagus

✓  Grapefruit

✓  Garlic

✓  Onions

✓  Legumes

3. Eating more fiber

Fiber helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract. A high-fiber diet also prevents and treats different digestive problems, such as constipation and hemorrhoids5.

To get the most from this nutrient, eat both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber helps the body absorb nutrients from the foods you eat6.

Foods rich in this nutrient include7:

✓  Citrus fruits

✓  Dried beans

✓  Oat bran

✓  Peas

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, helps draw water into and add volume to your stools8. The most common sources of this nutrient are9:

✓  Vegetables

✓  Wheat bran

✓  Whole grains

4. Consuming less sugar and sweeteners

A diet rich in sugar and artificial sweeteners may lead to gut dysbiosis10, a condition pertaining to an imbalance of gut microbes.

This imbalance in the microbiome can affect various body functions and the person’s behavior.

A study on rats has shown examples of sugars and sweeteners that are unhealthy for the gastrointestinal system, namely11:

✓  Aspartame

✓  Sucratose

Honey is a healthier alternative to sugars and sweeteners12. Use it for sweetening your food and beverages

5. Eating less fatty foods and more lean meats

A diet high in fatty foods has been associated with the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut13.

Lean cuts of meats are better for your gastrointestinal and overall health. Examples of these are:

✓  Skinless chicken and turkey14

✓  Salmon15

✓  Tuna16

However, limit your portion sizes and eat more foods that promote healthy gut flora such as fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

6. Avoiding alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is never good for your body. It can also have negative effects on your gut health17.

Overindulging in alcohol affects your gut in the following ways18:

✓  Increases gastrin levels and acid secretion

✓  Slow bowel movement

✓  Causes diarrhea and malabsorption

Healthy beverages you should try to consume more of are19:

✓  Water

✓  Low-fat and skimmed milk

✓  Soy beverages

✓  Green tea

7. Avoiding stress

Stress affects various aspects of your well-being, including gut health. It can affect the important probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus in your microbiome20.

This, in turn, can increase your risk for inflammatory conditions.

The top stressors that affect gut health are21:

✓  Stress

✓  Depression

You can manage stress more effectively by learning and practicing22:

✓  Deep breathing

✓  Meditation

✓  Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

These lifestyle changes are not hard to do. If you need more reasons to follow them, keep in mind that your overall wellness will also improve as you enhance and maintain your gut health.

Read more about the importance of keeping your gastrointestinal tract in good condition by visiting our Gut Health page.

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