Diarrhea is usually characterized by a watery, loose stool and loose bowel movement which, to say the least, can put a real damper on your day! In fact, not only is it inconvenient, what with all the racing to the toilet and fear of an accident, it can cause dangerous dehydration and electrolyte deficiency.
And, since even moderate dehydration can cause organ dysfunction, and with more severe dehydration leading all the way up to death, diarrhea is clearly not something you should take lightly (as if you could!).
But, there is hope, and even better, hope in the form of a couple of natural and functional foods—namely, chia seeds and flaxseeds—both of which are sources of soluble fiber which can help you get back to normal.
Why Use Fiber to Help Your Diarrhea Symptoms?
Okay, so you’re probably wondering just how it is that something such as fiber which is known to help alleviate constipation can also help with the opposite problem, AKA diarrhea?
First, let’s explain that there are 2-kinds of fiber in foods, those being soluble and insoluble. And, while soluble fiber will absorb water, insoluble won’t. Since diarrhea often causes excessive water in the bowels, it is the insoluble fiber which can absorb the excess moisture and help return your bowels back on track.
Incidentally, insoluble fiber will usually do the opposite of this, since it doesn’t absorb water and instead, will merely add to the looseness of your stools.
An Excellent Source of Soluble Fiber
So, just what is the best source of soluble fiber? Yes, it is true that many foods contain it, and you can even buy soluble fiber on its own it you prefer to go that route.
However, there are some natural sources of fiber which go beyond just helping to reduce excessive water in your colon. In fact, seeds such as chia or flax can have the dual benefit of also helping to replace electrolytes lost through bouts of diarrhea, since both seeds are rich, natural sources of minerals.
And, this is in addition to them being nutritional powerhouses chock-full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and with both seeds being excellent natural sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids.
How do I Use Flaxseeds?
Also known of as linseeds, flaxseeds have been cultivated for thousands of years and have a pleasantly-delicate nutty flavor to them. They are most often toasted and either used whole, or more commonly ground into a meal. Since ground flaxseed is more digestible than whole seed, it is recommended that you either buy flax which is already ground, or grind it yourself, which you can easily do with a coffee grinder.
From there, the meal can be added to smoothies, yogurt, cereals, salads and even used to bake with. Usually, it is recommended that you add about 1-2 tablespoons to foods, and you can adjust as needed for flavor and nutritional content.
However, not everyone enjoys the flavor of flaxseed, in which case you can get it in capsules for a taste-free and easy way to relieve your diarrhea symptoms.
How do I Use Chia Seeds?
Like flaxseed, chia is wonderfully versatile in ways you can consume it. In fact, not only can you add chia to cereals, smoothies, salads and other foods, you can also use the properties of the soluble fiber which they contain to absorb liquids and make puddings and other textured foods.
However, while chia seeds provide a wonderfully gelatinous consistency which can be used to add texture to foods, it is recommended that you don’t soak them first when using them to ease your diarrhea symptoms. This is because the soluble fiber which produces the gelatinous texture needs to be available to absorb the extra water in your colon, which is something it cannot do when already saturated. This means sticking to consuming them in baked goods, sprinkled on foods with low water content, or simply eaten out of hand.
Oh, and by the way, chia seeds have a pleasant crunch to them much like that of poppy seeds, only more nutritious!
Spending a day suffering the consequences of diarrhea is no fun, and the fact that you practically need to put on your track shoes for all that running for the nearest restroom says it all: Forget doing anything but being miserable until your symptoms go away!
However, you have hope, since not only can chia seeds or flaxseeds help to alleviate your suffering and replace electrolytes lost through a loose, watery stool, they can also add a nutritiously versatile crunch and texture to many foods.
So next time you experience a loose bowel movement and need a safe and natural remedy, reach for the chia or flaxseed. Both can help you out, and you’re probably going to love the many tasty and enjoyable ways in which you can consume them!