What is The BRAT Diet?

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It is quite common for people to suffer from an upset stomach and turn away from delicious foods. This is the stomach flu (gastrointestinal infection) we’re talking about which attacks all age groups. While there are medications and treatments that are offered to people who have stomach flu, nausea and diarrhea, 9 out of 10 doctors will recommend to change the diet and start to eat foods that are light. Here’s where the BRAT diet comes into play.

What Is The BRAT Diet?

The BRAT diet was first mentioned in 1926. The diet was recommended to children and people who had severe diarrhea and vomiting issues. However, it is still popular today as it is quite effective in recovering an ill stomach. The BRAT diet is a diet that people can digest easily since it focuses on giving the stomach some rest by offering foods that are low on fiber, fats as well as protein, so that less amount of stool is passed.

BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. The entire BRAT diet is about eating these 4 foods until the digestive illness recovers. All in all, the BRAT diet is about eating bland foods that can be easily digested so that the stomach is kept lighter and the person can recover faster from illness like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach issues etc.

However, it should be noted that is diet is not to be followed for long-term because it is not nutrient rich. The diet should be followed for 48 hours only or as recommended by your doctor. 

Which Foods To Eat In The BRAT Diet?

  • Cooked cereals such as oatmeal. Cream of wheat can also be eaten.
  • Light tea.
  • Flat soda or apple juice.
  • White rice.
  • Potatoes (boiled only).
  • Clear liquids such as water, juice, beverages which contain electrolytes and are also caffeine free such as such as sports drinks, soda etc.
  • White bread toast.

Which Foods To Avoid In The BRAT Diet?

  • Dairy products, milk etc.
  • Everything which is greasy, fried, spicy or fatty.
  • Protein containing foods like salmon, steak, pork, sardines etc.
  • Raw vegetables such as green salads, broccoli, carrot sticks and cauliflower.
  • Fruits should also be avoided (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, apple, and tomato).
  • Cold drinks or hot drinks.
  • Caffeine containing drinks such as coffee.

The Right Way To Follow The BRAT Diet

You should ideally follow the diet as per your doctor’s instructions, however if you are not happy with it, then you may follow this diet plan:

First 6 hours: Once the symptoms have started (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea etc), you need to stop taking any all kinds of foods and even liquids for 2 hours. This is important because keeping your stomach empty for two will make it easier for your stomach to recuperate.

After that, start sipping water or sports drinks so as to recover the amount of electrolytes you have lost.You can also have a hard candy but make sure not to chew it yet.

Day 1 - First 24 hours: The most important thing during stomach illness is to keep yourself well hydrated. Hence, keep drinking water after every 10 minutes or so. Not just water, you can start other liquids too such as broth, light tea, apple juice.

Day 2: Now start including foods into your diet such as bananas, toast, crackers, applesauce and rice.

Day 3: Since the diet isn’t much nutritious, you need to include a variety of bland foods such as soft-cooked eggs, white meat, sherbet, stewed fruits etc. These foods are easy to digest and won’t pressurize your stomach. Moreover, they will help a great deal until you recover. They key is to add bland food variety a bit late because if you start eating foods right away, the symptoms may return.

The most important thing is to avoid dehydration in the body and to do so. This can be done by consuming a good amount of liquids.

Benefits Of The BRAT Diet

Prevents Nausea: Since this diet is lighter and doesn’t affect the gut, the feeling of nausea is eliminated during digestive illness.

Anti-Diarrhea Effects: The BRAT diet emphasizes on eating bananas because it is said to have anti-diarrhea effects. This is because bananas can easily be passed through a digestive tract which is weak. Moreover, bananas are an excellent choice since they are rich in vitamins and potassium, especially green bananas, as per this study.

Firm Stools: Since the diet restricts from eating foods that are rich in fiber, firmer stools are passed with no issues.

Lighter Stomach: A lighter stomach makes people feel better quickly and also speed up the recovery process.

BRAT Diet Recipes

There are no fancy dishes in this diet, but let’s have a look at some basic ones:

Banana Bread 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. of Malt-O-Meal.
  • ½ cup water
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar free vanilla syrup
  • Half banana 

Method:

  • Take a microwavable bowl and add Malt-O-Meal and cinnamon in it.
  • Take a container and heat water in it for a minute.
  • Pour the heated water in the bowl, add vanilla syrup and stir.
  • Put the bowl in the microwave for a minute.
  • Take it out from the microwave and smash half a banana into the mixture and allow it to cool.

How Soon Can You See The Results?

The results of this diet depend upon the severity of your digestive illness. Doctors recommends to follow this diet for 1 to 3 days only because it lacks nutrients. 

The Verdict

The BRAT is the first choice that comes to mind when you have an upset stomach. It is easy to digest, therefore, speeds up the stomach recovery process. However, this diet is not ideal for kids because they need nutrition more than adults and the BRAT diet lacks nutrients.

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