Clients who are undergoing treatment for inflammatory or ulcerative conditions of the stomach or intestines, a bland diet menu can be designed to provide adequate nutrition to the client while decreasing gastric irritation and physical discomfort. This diet promotes a restraining plan on food intake but this is one of the ways to manage a certain condition or it serves to help a certain purpose. Before deciding on this diet, consultation with a physician should be sought to help you analyze if this regimen would be ideal for you.
A bland diet provides foods that are not irritating to the digestive tract and do not increase the production of acids in the stomach. It is made up of foods that are soft, not spicy and low in fiber content.Also called, CAP-free diet, foods containing C-A-P are avoided which are:
C – Caffeine
A – Alcohol
P – Pepper
Indications of bland diet
A bland diet can be used to manage and treat peptic ulcers, heartburn, nausea and vomiting and flatulence or presence of gastric gases. Patients who underwent surgery of the stomach or intestines may also need to follow this dietary regimen. This diet is also ideal for patients with chronic gastritis, reflux esophagitis or dyspepsia, hemorrhoids and hyperacidity.
Mechanism of Action
The bland diet is created to decrease peristaltic activity of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent its irritation.
Bland Diet Guidelines
B – Before changing to bland diet, check with a health care provider first. Like any menu, developing a bland diet needs preparation and thinking ahead.
L – List of specific things to consider when planning a bland diet menu are the following:
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Individual’s lifestyle
- Avoidance of active gastric irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, pepper and other specific drugs.
A – Assess your nutritional needs first before adhering to the dietary regimen by checking with a health care provider.
N – Never eat anxiously. Anxiety can increase gastric secretion. Eat in a relaxed manner.
D – Do NOT eat the following foods:
- Instant noodles
- Spicy nuts
- Fatty dairy foods such as whipped cream or high-fat ice cream
- String cheese
- Raw vegetables
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers and corn. These vegetables make you gassy.
- Fresh berries and other fresh fruits
- Dried fruits
- Whole grain or bran cereals
- Whole grain breads, crackers or pasta
- Pickles and similar foods
- Hot pepper and garlic
- Foods containing a lot of sugar or honey in them
- Seasoned, cured or smoked meats and fish
- Fried foods
- Avoid medicine that contains aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
These foods and medications can cause gastric discomfort and irritation.
D – Dietitian or a nutritionist will provide guidelines to help an individual plan a healthy diet.
I – Identify stressors and manage stress. Avoid worry and emotional upsets at mealtime. It can overly increase gastric secretion.
E – Eagerly observe you tolerance for eating. Food effects vary from one person to another, thus it is essential to know your own digestive system. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole cereals, nuts and grains may negatively affect some patients.
T – The list of foods allowed in a bland diet:
- Low fat milk and other dairy products
- Cooked, canned or frozen vegetables
- Juices of fruits and vegetables
- Canned or cooked fruits. The skin and the seeds should be removed.
- Oatmeal and cream of wheat or other refined hot cereals
- Refined white flour products such as breads, crackers and pasta
- Poultry, whitefish, shellfish and lean, tender meats. These foods should be baked, steamed or grilled and should contain no added fat.
- Pudding and custard
- Creamy peanut butter
- Soup, especially broth
- Weak tea
- Eat small yet frequent meals during the day.
- Slowly chew the food when eating and make sure to chew it well.
- If you are a smoker, you should stop cigarette smoking.
- Make sure NOT to eat within 2 hours before going to bed.
- Fluids should be taken slowly.
- Avoid foods of extreme temperatures.
Following this dietary regimen is not easy. In cases where your doctor has placed you on a bland diet because of ulcerative or inflammatory problems in the bowel or gastrointestinal tract, you should stay on the diet until the doctor tells you to do so. However, it is also important to adequately nourish the body, so be sure to balance your diet for optimum nutrition. If difficulty following the dietary plan is your problem, always remember you are not just eating to feel better rather you are eating for your life!