Banana Flakes -A Dietary Approach to Help Resolve Diarrhea
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Banana Flakes are a dietary approach to help resolve diarrhea and are made up of 100% dehydrated banana. Not only are bananas delicious and filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals they are also natural sources of soluble fiber and prebiotics.
Keep reading to learn more about how banana flakes help resolve diarrhea.
What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea occurs when excess water is drawn into the colon and defined as having three or more stools in one day that are liquid consistency. (2) Symptoms may include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, loose stools, fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and/or the sudden urge to have a bowel movement. (1)
What causes diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be brought on by malabsorption of dietary sources, such as someone who is lactose-intolerant or someone who has celiac disease.
Diarrhea can also be brought on by someone who has chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pancreatitis, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
If all is running smoothly in the body, diarrhea may be brought on by viral infections, bacterial infections (traveler’s diarrhea) or in 5%-25% of individuals taking antibiotics. (4,5)
What are the risks associated with diarrhea?
Diarrhea can lead to unintended weight loss. This is a high risk for any individual, but especially older adults. With weight loss comes muscles loss which leads to a decrease in strength and independence. This may also result in an increased risk for hospital admission.
Diarrhea may also lead to dehydration and malnutrition due to your body being unable to absorb any nutrition you are taking in. This too can result in an increased risk for hospital admission.
How long does diarrhea last?
Depending on the severity, diarrhea can last from days to weeks. If you have been suffering from diarrhea for less than two weeks, it’s considered acute, but if your diarrhea has been lasting longer than 4 weeks, it’s considered chronic. (1)
How can you treat diarrhea?
Once you identify the cause of your loose stools, there are various treatment options to help resolve and return to your normal self.
If the diarrhea is associated with intake of food, dietary modifications can be made to help reduce or resolve symptoms.
If diarrhea is brought on by viral or bacterial infections, banana flakes can be started immediately whereas anti-diarrheal medications cannot be started until stool test results have returned. Banana flakes contain fiber and prebiotics while also aiding in a speedy recovery of diarrhea. (3,4)
The soluble fiber found in banana flakes help thicken the stool and the prebiotics help reabsorb the extra fluid in your colon to reduce those pesky watery stools. Prebiotics are also a food source for the good bacteria found in your colon to help it thrive and keep your bowels running normal.
What are the benefits of taking banana flakes?
· Banana flakes help promote independence and may reduce social isolation by taking away the fear of leaving home and/or embarrassment from accidental bowel movements.
· Banana flakes are a natural source of prebiotics and will help promote gut health by providing food to all your good gut bacteria.
· Since banana flakes are considered a dietary supplement, it will be one less medication you need to take and one less side effect that you might endure if taking a medication instead.
· Banana flakes are easy to use and simple to prep. You can mix the banana flakes into water, smoothies, or other snacks that you enjoy eating.
Are there any side effects when taking banana flakes?
Bananas are a natural source of prebiotics and high in soluble fiber which helps soften stools and promote regular bowel movements, but many people are concerned that once diarrhea has resolved this may lead to constipation.
There is limited research on banana intake and constipation. Many people believe that bananas cause constipation from personal experiences.
As a dietitian working with older adults who suffer from diarrhea, banana flakes have helped resolve diarrhea without leading to constipation. Everyone is different and only you know how your body works, but this is a cost-efficient dietary alternative to take that contains multiple nutritional properties.
Where can you purchase banana flakes?
There are a variety of brands, organic based and sizes that you can purchase online or at your local health food store.
Individualized packets for convenience or those grab and go days
· Banatrol Plus– Flavors include Banana and Pineapple Banana
Bulk options if you want to save money and have larger quantity on hand
· Banatrol Plus – Flavors include Banana or Pineapple Banana
Certified USDA Organic Options
· Organic Banana Flakes by Toogood Botanics
· Organic Banana Powder by Z Natural Foods
· Organic Green Banana Powder by MRM
Banana flakes can be a dietary approach to help resolve diarrhea and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Banana flakes may help to improve nutrient absorption and hydration, reduce unintended weight loss from dietary intake, enhance that “good” gut bacteria and regularity of bowel movements, reduce personal discomfort, and reduce embarrassment brought on by that accidental episode.
If symptoms haven’t resolved, talk with your healthcare provider immediately to discuss alternative treatments.
1. Blanca Ochoa, C. M. (2002, October). Diarrheal Diseases-Acute and Chronic. Retrieved from American College of Gastroenterology: https://gi.org/topics/diarrhea-acute-and-chronic/#tabs2
2. Carol R. Parrish, N. R. (2015). Small Intestine Malaborptive Disorders. In G. E. Laura E. Matarese, The Health Professional’s Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition (pp. 50-51). Cathy Iammartino.
3. Emery, E. A. (1997, April). Banana flakes control diarrhea in enterally fed patients. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 72-75. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/011542659701200272
4. Kathy Barco, K. R. (2015). Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms. In G. E. Laura E. Matarese, The Health Professional’s Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition (pp. 68-70). Cathy Iammartino.
5. Mullin, G. (2015). Probiotics. In G. M. Laura Matarese, The Health Professional’s Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition (p. 327). Cathy Lammartino.