One of my naturopathic clients complained of a sudden bout of diarrhea that was making her very uncomfortable. When these kinds of occasional bouts of intestinal distress arise, I reach for the healing powers of coconut water and probiotics to help the gut calm down.
Tropical islanders have long known coconut water to be helpful in clearing a bit of dysentery from the occasional spoiled food or a food- or water-borne bacteria that your body wants to expel quickly and forcefully. Diarrhea is one way the body evacuates irritants, so it is important not to artificially stop the flow. Staying hydrated, keeping electrolytes balanced, and eating foods that are easy to digest will keep you more comfortable while your body does what it needs to do to keep you healthy.
Besides offering hydration and bio-absorbable electrolytes, coconut water contains other amino acids and nutrients that help to finish the expulsion and calm the gut. It’s like a special sauce that you’ll only get from the water inside a coconut. You used to have to visit a tropical local and whack off the top of the coconut with a machete in order to drink the sweet coconut water through a straw, but now you can find coconut water boxed or bottled in many grocery stores. I like the individual-serving-sized boxes because they are convenient to keep in the pantry for quick re-hydration after sweaty soccer games. For electrolyte replacement needs, coconut water beats the artificial colors and high sugar content of commercial sports drinks hands down.
Besides coconut water, I recommended that my client start on a probiotic and follow the B.R.A.T diet until she felt better.
The B.R.A.T. diet was designed of non-laxative solid foods to help recover from diarrhea, and it is a regimen my family has turned to many times during the periods of digestive distress due to colds or flu’s as well. B.R.A.T. stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. You can modify this as needed, such as gluten-free toast or brown rice, but do not add in apple juice, as it will only encourage the diarrhea to continue. I can always tell when the patient is recovering because they can’t stand to stay on the BRAT diet any longer!
While these tips may be helpful for easing the strain of chronic diarrhea, if your diarrhea is more than occasional it likely means something else is going on such as parasites and/or food sensitivities. Unfortunately, coconut water will not cure either of these conditions, but you are always welcome to contact me to look into other options for getting well.