Bland Diet – Benefits, Types, Precautions & More
A bland diet contains foods that are prepared using minimal oil and spices. These foods are light and easy to digest. Alcoholic beverages, drinks, spicy and fried foods are not included in this diet. This diet is effective for curing peptic ulcers and reflux disease. It also relieves heartburn, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. People suffering from gastrointestinal distress should follow this diet. Digestive system gets irritated because of regular consumption of spicy and acidic foods. Thus, most doctors suggest this diet. Due to various reasons, many people follow this diet even before their doctor suggests it. Bland foods usually contain less fibre, high pH, and soft texture. Generally, this diet is tasty. The results can vary from person to person. Thus, you must always consult a doctor before changing your diet. There is a big difference between healthy diet and this diet. In a healthy diet, you have to include more fibre. In this diet, you have to include less fibre.
Benefits of Bland Diet
Here are some of the health benefits of this diet:
1. Ulcerative Colitis
Patients suffering from problems related to their stomach or intestine must have this diet. For them, this diet should be designed by experts in a way that the patient receives proper nutrition without any discomfort or irritation.
2. Acid Reflux, Colitis, and Gerd
People suffering from acid reflux, colitis or GERD should follow this diet as it includes soft foods and makes digestion easier. They should consume foods containing lots of fluids to aid in the digestion process.
3. Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the health benefits of this diet. However, you should not follow this diet for a long time as your body will not receive essential nutrients.
This diet can cure ulcers as it contains minimal seasoning or spices. The foods are soft and easy to chew.
5. Gallbladder Stones
People suffering from gallbladder stones should consume this diet. Consumption of fresh fruit juices and vegetables can cure the problems.
Different Types (Veg and Non-Veg)
Here are some veg and non-veg foods that are usually included on a bland food diet menu.
1. Milk and dairy products
Dairy products are usually considered as bland foods. However, you should only consume low-fat dairy and fat-free products. Some of the dairy products you should include in this diet are milk, cheese, ice cream and plain and flavoured yoghurt. You should daily consume 2 to 3 servings of milk products or milk. On this diet, you can consume any type of low-fat cheese. You should consume cottage, mild or white cheese in the diet which contains less fat than yellow cheese. Although some nutritionists exclude ice cream in this diets, you can have it in moderation. You must stick with frozen yoghurt or low-fat ice cream.
For most of the vegetables, cooking is important to make them less acidic. You can consume vegetable in frozen, canned or cooked form. You can include spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, beets, squashes, green peas, mushrooms, beans and asparagus in your meal. Lots of vegetables can be included in your diet as they are enriched with various vitamins, minerals, potassium, folate, etc. For a healthy this diet, you should include freshly cooked vegetables.
For following this diet, choosing right fruits becomes a tough task. Some fruits can affect your digestion. A healthy this diet will contain lots of fresh fruit which will protect cells from oxidation. You should exclude acidic and citrus fruits and include fruits containing antioxidants. You should have cooked fruits as it will be good for your digestive system. It is always better to consult your doctor or nutritionist to check your particular condition and recommend a complete list of fruits for your this diet accordingly.
4. Fruit and vegetable juices
Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices. You should have much recommended mild juices like apples, carrots, and celery. You can consume any potato.
If you want to include non-veg food in your this diet, then add some fish, baked, and grilled meats.
You can have red meat and lean, tender meat in your this diet. However, you should try to have only lean cuts of pork, turkey, and chicken. You can consume poultry, chicken soups and meat soups which are cooked with mild seasoning.
You can also include various kinds of fish including trout, cod, herring, mild fish and shellfish in your this diet.
Foods to Eat
Here are some of the foods you must include in this diet:
1. Protein Foods
You must include foods which contain protein like crisp bacon(non-fatty & non-fried meats only). You must consume soy products such as soy yoghurt, milk, and tofu.
2. Nut Butters
Based on the kind of digestive problem you face, smooth nut butter (such as almond butter or peanut butter etc.) should be included in your this diet. Hence, you should check with your doctor first.
3. Vanilla and Almond
Vanilla and almond extract are some of the flavourings you can include in your this diet as these products are used in minimal quantities.
You should include the following carbs in your this diet:
(i) Flour bread and pasta
If you are experiencing digestive problems, you should include refined white bread in this diet.
(ii) Low-sugar cereals
You should consume normal cereals like rice or puffed cereals which do not include any added fibre.
Depending on your condition, the nutritionist or the doctor can prescribe oatmeal.
Foods to Avoid
Here are some of the foods you must avoid in this diet:
1. Strong flavouring Extracts
You should avoid citrus, cocoa and cinnamon extract which offer strong flavourings and can trigger digestive problems in some cases. You can taste these flavouring in small quantity to check if certain flavouring or spice is triggering problems or not. If you are able to consume it without noticing any reaction, you can add it in your food in moderation.
You must avoid seasoned salt or salt containing spices. Regarding the consumption of plain salt, one must consult the doctor.
3. Spices and Flavorings
Some spices and herbs should not be included in this diet, especially spicy products like red pepper flakes, garlic, and cayenne pepper. You should also avoid spices which can cause heartburn. Some of these spices include cumin, ginger, star anise, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon. You must avoid pepper jack and such type of spicy cheese. For the use of mint, one must consult with a doctor.
4. Cured and Smoked Meats
The non-veg food you must avoid is cured and smoked meats.
5. Grape, Orange, and Tomato Juice
Avoid acidic juices such as grape, tomato, and orange juices.
6. Gassy Vegetables
Vegetables which must be excluded are onions, broccoli, cabbage, green pepper, turnips, dried peas, corn and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are gassy and must be avoided.
What Bland Foods to Eat to Cure Nausea
Most people feel nauseous on certain occasions. It is challenging to eat anything while nauseous. You can include bland foods in your diet which will maintain energy level while you are recovering from the underlying cause. Such foods won’t worsen the condition. You can consume small amounts of bland foods frequently until your appetite returns and nausea dissipates.
1. Mashed Potatoes
You can include potatoes in your this diet. Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates. Cook peeled potatoes to digest it easily.
2. Broth and Broth-Based Soups
Broth and chicken soup are recommended bland foods especially for women dealing with nausea. Broth replenishes deficiencies connected with diarrhoea and vomiting. Soupy noodles energize carbohydrates. Leafy green vegetables and carrots supply antioxidants. It will boost your body’s infection healing ability. Chicken is a rich source of protein. It repairs tissue and boosts physical strength. You can sip broth and soup twice or thrice every day. You should not drink cheesy and creamy soups which can worsen the problem.
3. Soda Crackers
You should include soda crackers in your this diet as they have a mild taste and contain less fibre. You should keep a tube or soda crackers around the bed at night to reduce nausea. Crackers are a convenient option, but you need to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.
You can include toast in your this diet which is enriched with carbohydrate. You should eat plain toast. Optionally, you can spray olive oil on the bread. Include low-fibre bread like white bread and wheat bread and exclude high-fibre bread like whole grain. Also, you should not put jelly, jam or butter in your bread as they are fatty and sugary foods which might worsen the symptoms.
- Do not consume multigrain, whole grain, and wheat flour. You should only consume white bread, white flour, white pasta, and white rice.
- Avoid greasy foods on this diet. You should avoid deep fried foods and fatty meats.
- Avoid consumption of foods containing plenty of starchy composition. You should exclude foods with heavy starch and acidity levels like bread and grain cereals and include fruits, vegetables, milk, and grains.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. You should avoid the consumption of drugs, alcohol, chilli powder, and pepper.
- Avoid popcorn, potato chips, chocolate and fibrous foods and include soft foods and dairy products which help in digestion. You should consume soft foods which are easy to digest and does not release lots of gastric juices.
- Ensure your bland diet offers balanced nutrition. Your this diet must include foods containing vitamins and minerals. Vitamin deficiencies can badly affect your health.
- Avoid gulping. You should drink and chew your foods slowly.
- Don’t eat anything before going to bed. You always have your dinner two hours before your bedtime.
- You should avoid ice cream which contains acidic fruits and nuts.
- Do not consume aspirin, non-steroidal, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- You should eat bland foods 3 to 4 times daily.
- Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks, aerated drinks, carbonated drinks, and pulpy fruit juices.
- Consult your doctor or nutrition professional before switching to a bland diet. You can also ask a certified nutritionist for recommended foods to include in this diet. You cannot just guess and include any food in your this diet.