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BRAT Diet: How Does It Work and 10 Foods That Stop Diarrhea

BRAT Diet: How Does It Work and 10 Foods That Stop Diarrhea

BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast and is a highly recommended diet for patients undergoing upset stomach issues, diarrhea and vomiting. Consisting of bland, low fiber foods, it helps to regulate the stool in a short period of time.

BRAT diet has been a go to diet for stomach flu since 1926, with variations such as BRATT with tea, and BRATTY with tea and yoghurt. Being bland, simple and easily digestible with little residue, the diet has proven successful in cases of diarrhea and nausea. However, being low in fiber, protein, and fat, the diet is becoming much less prescribed by medical experts due to lack of important nutrients, especially for kids.

BRAT diet plan

In cases of vomiting, diarrhea or nausea, BRET diet plan as suggested by the The Oregon Clinic [1] should follow the steps listed below.

First six hours: It is strongly recommended to avoid any kind of food or liquid in the first couple of hours after the symptoms had started, in order to help your
stomach to recuperate. After that, you should start the healing process gradually, first by sipping water, and taking a hard candy, but avoid chewing.

First 24 hours: (Day One) As it is important to stay hydrated, start drinking clear liquids (such as water, apple juice, flat soda, weak tea, and broth)by taking one to two sips at a time every ten minutes. Make sure to repeat the entire process if the symptoms return.

Day Two: Now you can start to gradually add bananas, rice, applesauce, crackers, and toast.

Day Three: As the diet suggests bland and foods not rich in nutrients, it is important to start including more variety to your diet by day three. You can gradually include soft cooked eggs, sherbet, stewed fruits, cooked vegetables and white meat into your daily meals.

Additionally, it is extremely important to drink plenty of water and to avoid fats, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, raw vegetables and citrus fruits in cases of diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, as these foods and beverages could potentially worsen the condition.

Also, make sure to consult your doctor about the medication you should use, and if the symptoms continue after 24 hours.

BRAT diet benefits

A number of studies have proved the efficiency of BRAT diet foods to regulate stomach problems, being especially efficient in cases of diarrhea.

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In a series of studies conducted upon more than 2,900 children with acute diarrhea, the researchers have found that including green bananas in the children’s diet has made the recovery much faster.

[2] [3] [4]

A 2004 study [5] that examined the efficacy of rice-based oral rehydration solutions has found rice to be effective in fighting dehydration caused by diarrhea.

Side effects of BRAT diet

As previously mentioned, BRAT diet has certain limitations which mainly have to do with its lack of important nutrients such as fiber, protein, and fat, making it less appropriate for children as it can lead to malnutrition.

In a research [6] that contrasted the amount of nutrients in a regular diet of two-year-olds with the BRAT diet, the researchers have found that the BRAT diet contains 300 fewer calories, 70% less protein, 80% less fat, and considerably lower levels of vitamins A and B12 and Calcium.

Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases [7] are no longer in favor of the BRAT diet for children suffering from gastrointestinal problems, but they suggest a well-balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, meat, yogurt, and complex carbohydrates instead.

10 Foods that Heal Diarrhea

Even though efficient in treating diarrhea, BRAT diet suggested foods don’t provide enough nutrients for it to be consumed if the condition continues. Therefore, leading health food experts are suggesting a variety of foods that are both rich in nutrients and have positive effect on treating diarrhea.

1. Bone broth

    Rich in nutrients needed for the proper digestion, bone broth is a perfect food for treating diarrhea [8] as it helps to regulate the digestive system.

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    2. Probiotic foods (yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha)

      As the 2011 research [9] suggests, probiotic foods are one of the most efficient agents in fighting diarrhea as they provide the beneficial bacteria needed for the reduction of diarrhea.

      3. Oats

        Being rich in soluble fiber, oats help regulate loose stool which makes them a beneficial factor in fighting diarrhea. [10]

        4. Bananas

          Bananas are a number one foods of the BRAT diet due to high levels of potassium, an important nutrient, and due to their ability to be easily digested. As previously mentioned, green bananas are more effective diarrhea cure. [11]

          5. Root vegetable juice

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            Carrot juice is one of the most recommended choices for treating diarrhea as it is rich in nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamins A, C, D, E and K. As the 1988 study suggest, carrots juice also prevent dehydration during diarrhea as they “do not diminish intestinal loss of water and electrolytes”. [12]

            6. Sweet potatoes

              By possessing high levels of various nutrients [13] and being rich in insoluble fiber sweet potatoes are great choice as diarrhea remedy.

              7. Flaxseed oil

                Flaxseed oil is not only one of the richest sources of vegetable-based, vital omega-3 fatty acids but it is also beneficial factor in reducing both diarrhea and constipation. [14]

                8. Ginger

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                  Ginger has dual efficiency on diarrhea as it helps to both reduce [15] prevent [16] diarrhea altogether.

                  9. Water

                    While it is strongly suggested to always stay properly hydrated, drinking enough water helps reduce the risk of dehydration [17] associated with diarrhea.

                    10. Peppermint oil

                      By helping to soothe the digestive system, peppermint oil is another great choice for relieving diarrhea side-effects such as abdominal pain, as studies find. [18]

                      Finally, as with any type condition, it is always best to consult your doctor for medical advice. However, healthy lifestyle that involves eating healthy and exercising regularly can help avoid many minor and more serious conditions from developing in the first place.

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                      Reference

                      [1] The Oregon Clinic: Diet for Nausea, Vomiting, or Diarrhea (BRAT diet)
                      [2] NCBI: Green banana and pectin improve small intestinal permeability and reduce fluid loss in Bangladeshi children with persistent diarrhea.
                      [3] NCBI: Green banana-supplemented diet in the home management of acute and prolonged diarrhoea in children: a community-based trial in rural Bangladesh.
                      [4] NCBI: Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children.
                      [5] NCBI: Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children.
                      [6] PRACTICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY:The BRAT Diet for Acute Diarrhea in Children: Should It Be Used
                      [7] JPGN:European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition/European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Management of Acute Gastroenteritis in Children in Europe: Executive Summary
                      [8] DRAXE.COM: Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis and Cellulite
                      [9] NCBI: Probiotics for prevention and treatment of diarrhea.
                      [10] NCBI: Noninfectious Diarrhea in HIV Seropositive Individuals: a Review of Prevalence Rates, Etiology, and Management in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy
                      [11] NCBIi: Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children.
                      [12] NCBI: Current treatment of acute diarrhea in infants
                      [13] NCBI: Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)–a valuable medicinal food: a review.
                      [14] NCBI: Dual effectiveness of Flaxseed in constipation and diarrhea: Possible mechanism.
                      [15] NCBI:The effect of ginger on serotonin induced hypothermia and diarrhea
                      [16] NCBI: Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 7The Amazing and Mighty Ginger
                      [17] DRAXE.COM: 5 Natural Treatments for Dehydration Symptoms
                      [18] NCBI: Efficacy of Peppermint oil in diarrhea predominant IBS – a double blind randomized placebo – controlled study.

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                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                      Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                      1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                      Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                      2. Stress Relief

                      Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                      3. Improved Sleep

                      Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                      4. Appetite Control

                      Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                      5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                      When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                      6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                      Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                      7. Mosquito Repellant

                      Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                      8. Pain Relief

                      While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                      9. The New Anti-Viral

                      Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                      10. Improved Cognitive Function

                      Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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                      11. Money Saving

                      With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

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