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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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                      12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

                      12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

                      I’m a hypochondriac. Always have been since I was a child. One of my biggest fears as an adult is getting breast cancer. I visited my gynecologist a few months ago and asked what I could do to help prevent getting breast cancer. You know what she said? Nothing. According to this recommended OB/GYN doctor, besides regular check-ups to see if I already had breast cancer, there was nothing I could do to prevent a cancer that impacts 1 in 8 U.S. women.

                      BS.

                      After heavily researching breast cancer, I found out that I was making quite a few mistakes with my everyday activities. Here are 12 things that may cause breast cancer that you should avoid.

                      Buying Deodorant Without Checking the Label

                      I actually have a good friend who is more of a hypochondriac than I am, so I went to her with my concerns about breast cancer. She took me into the bathroom and thrust her deodorant at me. While at first I was confused and slightly offended, she explained that I should start using a different deodorant because the mass-produced ones at the store have ingredients (ie aluminum –based compounds) I can’t afford to put under my armpits and so close to my breasts. Luckily, she had an extra Tom’s natural deodorant to give me.

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                      There might not be any “conclusive” research that links antiperspirants to breast cancer but better safe than sorry.

                      Using Chemical Hair Dye

                      I know so many people who dye their hair every few months using the cheap boxed dyes you can buy at the store. Sure, it can be fun but it’s like playing Russian Roulette because the dyes you use most likely contain carcinogens. The National Cancer Institute even warns against the practice of just picking out a hair dye willy-nilly. So the next time you do it, go to a health foods market and find the most naturally-based hair dye you can.

                      Smoking

                      Regarding my visit to the gynecologist, she did come back after our conversation a few minutes later and asked if I smoked or drank a lot of alcohol. I said no (I don’t think any true hypochondriac can do either of those things). “You’ll be fine then,” she said. But she forgot about second-hand smoke, which can be just as dangerous. Now, I won’t go near anyone if they’re lighting up, including my BFF’s boyfriend. He can get as mad as he wants; my health is more important!

                      Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

                      When an organization devoted to protecting women against breast cancer suggests you get fitted with the right bra, you take notice. Bras that are too small or big might pose a risk because they just aren’t supportive on the breast tissue or if they are too tight they will cut off drainage of the lymph fluid. Hey, it was a great excuse to head to Victoria’s Secret to get measured.

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                      If I had my choice though, I would go all-natural and join the bra burners of the 60s (however, my mom was a bra burner, so that might make it a little awkward).

                      Using Chemical Household Cleaners

                      If the cabinet under your kitchen sink looks like most, there are enough chemicals to make all sorts of crazy things. And yes, as you and I suspected, those chemicals are REALLY bad. Not only are they connected with breast cancer, they are connected with other kinds of cancers, as well as chronic conditions like migraines, allergies and more. So from now on, clean with vinegar, baking soda and other materials that aren’t going to give you a medical nightmare.

                      Using Mothballs

                      When I was a little kid, I learned to use mothballs. They actually remind me of my grandmother, bless her heart. Little did I know that they are filled with chemicals that have been connected with breast cancer development. Looks like I’ll be looking for an alternative, like cedar chips. Sorry, Grammy!

                      Putting Non-Organic Make-Up on My Face

                      I won’t tell you the foundation I use, but I will tell you that after I read the ingredients, I promptly threw it away. It was chock full of all sorts of nasty things like parabens, which have been found en masse in tissue samples that came from breast cancer patients. I can still wear make-up, though. A trip to my local whole foods store was all it took to come up with organic-based, paraben-free cover-up.

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                      Neglecting My Physical Health

                      In my research, I discovered losing weight is a good way to ward off breast cancer since there have been indications of a link between being overweight and being diagnosed with this type of cancer. That’s all the motivation I need to get off the couch and head to the gym.

                      Drinking Alcohol

                      Like I mentioned above, alcohol has never been my drink of choice but basically everyone else I know highly enjoys their beer. Yet alcohol is super problematic if you want to avoid breast cancer, liver cancer and heart cancer. In a global study, over 21 percent of alcohol related deaths were because of cancer. I’m hoping for a soon-to-be revolution that swaps alcohol for tea (healthier and less expensive) when it comes to social drinking. Tea time anyone?

                      De-Odorizing My House With Air Fresheners

                      I love a clean-smelling house and car, but the air fresheners I’ve been using contain phthalates, a type of plasticizing chemical. Phthalates have been found in air fresheners because they help create a long-lasting fragrance. Unfortunately, that fragrance could be deadly. Looks like I’ll be boiling some water, cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stovetop to make my house smell really amazing!

                      Storing Everything in Plastic Containers

                      I have a habit of collecting those plastic containers. Whenever I get a coupon for them, I just go hog-wild and buy a bunch. But they have a connection to breast cancer, which I didn’t know before. It’s especially bad when you use them to reheat food in the microwave. I’m going to suck it up, throw them out and use glass containers instead.

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                      Buying the Wrong Food

                      I figured that pesticides were trouble from the get-go, and I was right. They get into your foods and, in some cases, seem to foster an environment where cancerous cells feel compelled to grow within the organs and tissues, including the breasts. It’s one more reason to buy from local farmers, as long as they don’t use pesticides. You’ll have to ask them, by the way; most local food market stands don’t have signs up about the whole pesticides topic.

                      While everyone still makes fun of me for being a hypochondriac, I know in my heart that I’m actually just protecting myself, and maybe educating some people on the health dangers that lurk in everyday items. My wellbeing is worth being the butt of a few jokes. Yours is, too.

                      Featured photo credit: NA via istockphoto.com

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