Food diets are not only aimed at losing body weight, since due to their variety they also have other purposes, but all related to health. 

One of these diets is the astringent diet , which follows the rule of eliminating some types of food, but this time to treat some gastrointestinal conditions.

In this order of ideas, we present the following article where we provide you with information so that you know what the astringent diet is and how it is done.

What is an astringent diet?

The astringent diet consists of a diet designed to reduce intestinal motility , promote dryness and constipation in order to reduce stool and improve its consistency in patients suffering from acute and chronic diarrhea such as gastroenteritis. (1)

In this way, following an astringent diet means suppressing the consumption of insoluble fibers in meals, as well as increasing the consumption of other foods rich in carbohydrates. 

Note: For the astringent diet, the consumption of soluble fiber helps to slow down digestion and improve the intestinal flora, which are the purposes of this diet.

How to make an astringent diet?

The astringent diet, like other types of food diets, has its own design, menu, characteristics and guidelines , which we mention below:

1. Avoid dairy products, fats, fibers, seasonings, and spicy foods

One of the first recommendations in this astringent diet is to avoid foods high in insoluble fiber such as those contained in legumes and other foods rich in FODMAPs (2) that have the characteristic of being fermentable, such as dairy products, saturated fats, seasonings, and spicy.

To highlight: The restriction of milk is also due to the lactose content , a type of natural sugar that in some people causes intolerance, causing states of diarrhea. (3)

2. Avoid carbonated, alcoholic and irritating drinks

The consumption of carbonated drinks and irritating foods should also be avoided, since they correspond to fermentable carbohydrates that are not beneficial for diarrheal states.

You should know: In the same way, alcoholic beverages should be avoided, as they are irritating substances that do not favor gastrointestinal health , especially on the balance of bacterial flora.

3. Cook preferably grilled or steamed

Another strategy to use is the consumption of food where healthy cooking methods have been applied , in this case grilled or steamed.

And the reasons for this are simple, firstly that food preserves most of its nutrients and chemical compounds in this way, secondly, the use of oils that increase the fat content of food during frying is avoided.

4. Moderate salt and sweeteners

It is also recommended to reduce the consumption of salt during this period of diarrhea, since salt is purely sodium , a mineral that in excess attacks certain bacteria of the intestinal flora.

Note: Sweeteners are fermentable carbohydrates, so their use during diarrheal episodes is not advisable in people with irritable bowel syndrome. (4)

5. Consume enough water

To maintain adequate hydration and for the benefit of the astringent diet, it is advisable to consume plain water or unsweetened lemon water several times a day.

To highlight: The consumption of other natural drinks such as green tea is also recommended , since thanks to its tannin content it becomes an astringent drink .

What are astringent foods?

Here is a list of the foods that are most used in the initial stage of the astringent diet:

1. White rice

White rice is essential to mitigate the effects of diarrhea, since its soluble fiber content, specifically pectin, decreases intestinal motility.

White rice also produces that feeling of fullness , a necessary property to mitigate the effects of anxiety about eating .

You should know: Other options that you can use are white bread, pasta and avoid whole grains.

2. Chicken breast

The consumption of meat is indicated in the context of the astringent diet, but only those with lean meat content, avoiding fatty cuts.

Note: In this aspect, red meat is recommended, the consumption of tenderloin or tenderloin ; of the birds the turkey and the skinless chicken . 

3. White fish

Although the consumption of fish in general is very healthy, for the astringent diet, only white meat fish such as pollock, dogfish or hake should be consumed.

To highlight: What we should avoid at this stage is the consumption of oily fish such as tuna or sardines, since their fat content is high, so they must be eliminated during the astringent diet.

4. Banana

The banana is an ideal food to be included in the astringent diet, due to two main components, pectin and starch.

You should know: These substances work as prebiotic nutrients and food for the intestinal flora , promoting the development of this type of benign bacteria.

5. Apple

The apple for its part, is a very healthy fruit and rich in water , a necessary element to maintain hydration. On the other hand, this fruit contains pectin, which, as we have already mentioned, is a type of fiber that favors intestinal health.

Note: The apple also contains tannins , a chemical compound from some vegetables with an astringent property , improving diarrhea states.

6. Carrot

Vegetables such as carrots have an essential oil that, together with pectin, forms a highly astringent food to promote intestinal health, the recovery of bacterial flora and the reduction of bowel movements.

Key Findings

  • The astringent diet is a diet designed to reduce intestinal motility.
  • The astringent diet is indicated in patients suffering from acute and chronic diarrhea.
  • The astringent diet promotes the consumption of soluble fiber, helps slow down digestion and improves the intestinal flora.
  • The astringent diet is indicated for other pathologies such as gastroenteritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

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