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

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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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                      Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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                      Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

                      Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

                      During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

                      But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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                      Simplify

                      I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

                      Absolutely.

                      And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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                      If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

                      • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
                      • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
                      • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

                      Be Mindful

                      You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

                      Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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                      Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

                      Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

                      Reflect

                      As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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                      Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

                      But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

                      So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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                      Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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