How to Start A Low Residue Diet to Improve Gut Health

Residue Diet

What is a Low Residue Diet?

If you are trying to recover from recent bowel surgery (e.g., ileostomy, colostomy, resection), getting ready for a colonoscopy, or experiencing heightened symptoms of abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, or effective digestive flare-ups affiliated with a gastrointestinal condition like Crohn’s and perhaps diverticular disease, one’s health care provider may recommend following a momentary low residue diet. 

Any solid contents that remain in the large intestine after digestion are referred to as “residue.” Food that hasn’t been digested or absorbed (mainly dietary fibre), germs, and stomach secretions are all examples. A low residue diet eliminates other meals that may increase bowel motion and limits dietary fibre to less than 10-15g each day.

What do you mean by Gut health?

The function and balance of bacteria in the various regions of the gastrointestinal tract are referred to as “gut health.” Organs like the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines should all operate together in the ideal situation to enable us to eat and digest food without pain. However, this is not the case for the approximately 70 million Americans who suffer from digestive problems.

What should you consume on a low-residue diet?

Low residue foods are often properly prepared to allow for easy digestion in the body. As per the University of Michigan’s Bowel Control Program, here is just a listing of do’s and don’ts for the low residue diet. 

Allowable foods include:

  • Liquids: Clear fluids and broth, as well as strained fruit and vegetable juices
  • Grains: Enriched white bread, puffed rice, grits, white rice, and pasta, and also skinless white meat
  • Fruits and vegetables: canned or cooked fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit and vegetable juices that have been strained

People also might be able to consume the following foods, based on their unique needs:

  • Meat and protein sources: eggs, cooked fish, and well-cooked ground meat (beef, lamb, swine, or poultry).
  • Yoghurt, custard, ice cream, and cottage cheese are all dairy products.

Foods not allowed:

  • Whole grain bread, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, cornbread, bread or cereals containing nuts or seeds
  • Raw vegetables and fruits, prune juice, coconut, dried fruit, all berries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, corn, even baked beans are some of the fruits and vegetables that you can eat.
  • Legumes, nuts, seeds, and fibrous meats with gristle are all good sources of protein and meat. Yoghurt made with nuts and seeds is a dairy product.
  • Pickled foods, popcorn, jam, and perhaps other fruit preserves are examples of desserts and snack foods.

Preparation for Gastrointestinal procedures as well as a low-residue diet

Unless you have had a colonoscopy and disliked the prep, a low-residue diet could help alleviate some of the pain. Individuals who are scheduled for a GI treatment are typically advised to follow a clear liquid diet the day prior. 

A low-residue diet, on the other hand, has been demonstrated to be equally as successful at colon preparation while also greatly enhancing patient satisfaction in such a series of studies. Check with your doctor if you can replace water and broth with more filling, low-residue options whether you’re heading in for a GI surgery. 

A daily menu for a low-residue diet:

Breakfast:

  • Cream of wheat, for example, is a refined cereal.
  • Eggs
  • Fruit juice or water should be clear.

Lunch:

  • On a white bread baguette, grilled chicken sandwich
  • Lettuce salad containing roasted beets and olive oil

Snacks:

  • Pretzels
  • Yogurt\s

Dinner:

  • Salmon that has been baked
  • Vegetables that have been cooked, such as spinach, green beans, and carrots
  • With a spoonful with sour cream on top of a baked potato without the skin

Low-fibre diets aren’t meant to be sustained for long periods

The low residue diet isn’t the only one that can help with GI issues. The following diets could help manage diarrhoea temporarily, but none of them are long-term remedies. 

  • The BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet is intended to help the body recover from stomach virus symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea. You should just follow it for one to two days since it is extremely tight.
  • According to Welstead, the low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo, Disaccharides, and Polyols) diet restricts particular types of carbohydrates that can induce gas, bloating and diarrhoea. This diet, on the other hand, is more of a diagnostic tool than just a long-term food plan. “The low FODMAP diet is just advised for a short length of time to establish which meals are trigger foods,” adds Welstead.

What are the symptoms of a gut health problem?

Digestive issues like abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting affect each other at some point. If your symptoms don’t go away, it could be a sign of anything more serious that necessitates medical treatment. Weight loss without cause, blood in the stool, black stool (a sign of intestinal bleeding), extreme vomiting, fever, chronic stomach aches, difficulty swallowing food, pain throughout the throat or chest once the food is swallowed, or jaundice (a yellow discolouration including the skin or eyes) could all be signs of a serious gastrointestinal issue.

What else should we be aware of when it comes to gut health?

  • Heartburn, bloating, or constipation are all common side effects of poor food choices. Start keeping the food diary if you’re experiencing these symptoms to discover if there was a link between your symptoms and certain meals. Fried foods should be avoided, and alcohol and caffeine should be used in moderation since they’re not beneficial in the long run. Check with your doctor if you continue to have stomach issues despite eating healthy foods.
  • Gut health necessitates adequate sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience nausea, bloating, constipation, or other digestive issues.
  • Regular exercise has been shown to lower stress and aid in the maintenance of a healthy weight, both of which can benefit gut health.

Antibiotics do have the ability to kill both toxic and healthy bacteria in the stomach. Antibiotics should not be used to treat ordinary colds or sore throats. Such illnesses are almost always caused by viral infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

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