Diarrhea can occur from HIV infection of some immune cells within the intestine, an opportunistic infection or the side effect of medications . It can result in poor absorption of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and micronutrients, especially if it persists for a long time. Diarrhea occurs when substances pass through the intestines too quickly . There is not enough time to absorb all the nutrients, water and electrolytes. The end result is liquid stools and inadequate absorption. The main dietary strategies to counter diarrhea are to decrease the intake of substances that irritate the intestines and to slow down passage through the tract.
Calming the Gut
- Limit your consumption of high-fat foods, sweet drinks, alcohol, caffeine,tobacco and stimulants.
- Limit your intake of insoluble fibre or roughage, such as wheat bran, berries, seeds and the skins of many fruits and vegetables.
- Add more soluble fibre to your meals. Good sources are oatmeal, rice, cream of wheat, apple sauce and mashed potatoes. Make rice porridge by cooking 1 cup white rice in 6 cups water or broth for 1 hour or longer. Eat the rice and starchy broth.
- Eat foods high in potassium, such as bananas and potatoes, and salty foods such as canned soups.
- Some people benefit from 500 mg calcium twice a day.
- A daily glutamine supplement of 10 to 30 grams may be beneficial.
- Avoid magnesium supplements and high doses of vitamin C.
- Find out if any complementary or alternative medicines you take are contributing to the diarrhea.
- Replenish fluids by drinking plenty of liquids such as diluted juices or sport drinks (e.g. Gatorade). Or try this recipe for a homemade hydration drink: Mix 1 cup orange juice with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.