What is the bland diet, and when is it right for you?
The bland diet consists of simple foods that are bland (not spicy), low in dietary fiber, and typically soft and cooked instead of raw. Foods that are avoided in this diet include whole grains that are rich in fiber, robust cheese, and fried and fatty foods. Medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin are discouraged, and caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
The bland diet is named for its natural qualities of soothing the digestive tract. This is because the permitted foods help minimize irritation of the tissues. According to MedicinePlus, the bland diet helps with stomach problems such as diarrhea, gas, nausea, heartburn, and ulcers. In addition, the Diet Health Club states that a bland diet may reduce irritation in the gastrointestinal tract plus help with dyspepsia, chronic gastritis, reflux esophagitis, and peptic ulcer disease. The diet is also recommended to patients who suffer from hiatal hernia. Moreover, the bland diet is often recommended after intestinal or stomach surgery.
What to Eat
Foods included in a bland diet are:
• Weak tea
• Creamy nut butters
• Custard and pudding
• Soups, especially broths
• Low fat milk and dairy products
• White breads, crackers, and pasta
• Canned, cooked, or frozen vegetables
• Vegetables and fruit juices (avoid citrus)
• Finely ground hot cereals like cream of wheat
• Lean and tender meat like shellfish, whitefish, and poultry (baked or steamed)
Foods to Avoid
Many specialists agree that there are certain foods to avoid when on a bland diet such as:
• Dried fruits
• Fried foods
• Sugary foods
• Nuts and seeds
• Raw vegetables
• Whole grain or bran cereals
• Smoked or cured meats and fish
• Spices like garlic and hot peppers
• Whole grain breads, pasta, or crackers
• Robust cheeses, such as Roquefort or bleu
• Caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages
• High fat dairy items, like ice cream or whipped cream
• Fruits with a lot of seeds, such as figs or berries
• Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi
• Gassy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, and cucumber
There are several tips that can help you stay on track when you are on a bland diet. For instance, always chew your food slowly and never eat in a hurry. Many dietitians feel that making all meals a special event will help you relax and eat slower. In turn, your food has time to digest, which reduces stomach issues. Other helpful hints include:
• Not smoking
• Drinking fluids slowly
• Avoiding food two hours before bed
• Eating small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large meals
If you suspect that you may have a stomach problem like gastroparesis or peptic ulcer, you may want to consider a bland diet. It is highly recommended that you seek professional medical advice as soon as possible if you have health concerns.
Both Dr. Simon Cofrancesco and Dr. Sergio Quijano are renowned gastroenterologists throughout the North Metro Atlanta area. They are known for their accumulated knowledge and incomparable patient care, bringing many years of expertise to GI North. Their expertise includes the treatment and diagnosis of digestive issues such as gastritis, gastroparesis, and other stomach problems. Dr. Sergio Quijano also speaks fluent Spanish for those who need or prefer care in that language.
For your convenience, GI North serves Cumming as well as the contiguous areas of Duluth, Milton, Canton, Suwanee, Alpharetta, Dawsonville, Roswell, Johns Creek, and Dahlonega.
This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about the bland diet, make an appointment at GI North with Dr. Simon Cofrancesco or Dr. Sergio Quijano.
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