Phases of BRAT Diet
Whenever you suffer from diarrhea, you should avoid food items, which would result in aggravation of your existing symptoms so that you recover with the least discomfort and in a short span of time. This means, you have to follow phases involving nutrient-dense food items, which are easy to digest and allow absorption of nutrients that boost the immune system to stay hydrated and energized.
Phase 1 - Eat Nutrient-rich Diet to Boost Immune System
In the first phase, you should consume foods rich in various vital nutrients, like bone broth, as it helps your immune system and gut. In addition, broth facilitates growth of probiotics within the gut and provides support to maintain healthy levels of inflammation within the digestive system.
Moreover, broth is usually in liquid form so it never requires breakdown and helps to soothe the digestive system thus being a perfect food for all types of diarrhea. The nutrients obtained from bone broth have healing properties. Patients may also use protein powder comprised of bone broth for preparation of food items rich in nutrients.
Phase 2 - Consume Probiotic Foods and Supplements
Probiotic food items and supplements have always played a major role in treatment and prevention of various diarrheal diseases, particularly in children. These supplements primarily provide patients’ bodies with food bacteria and fight with infections and several other reasons or problems associated with diarrhea.
Best probiotic food items, which help in relieving diarrhea and various other digestive problems, include varieties of cultured vegetables, like kimchi and sauerkraut, natto, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, yogurt and miso. In addition, probiotics also ease constipation.
Phase 3 - Consume Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber comes with the ability to absorb fluid in excessive amounts in bowels and add bulk towards loose motions. Oats are free from gluten and come with high amounts of soluble fiber. Because of this, they make the stool firm and sweep digestive tracts of patients smoothly by pulling waste materials and toxic products with them.
Individuals may soak oats overnight to reduce the levels of anti-nutrients and enzymes, which cause disturbance in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Research has revealed that bulking agents available in the form of oats and oat bran may be used as natural remedies to deal with the problem of diarrhea.
Phase 4 - Consume Bananas
Bananas are easily digestible, because of which they form the most significant part of the BRAT diet. Banana provides very high amounts of potassium and helps in replacement of lost electrolytes, which is essential whenever the body loses nutrients and fluids because of diarrhea.
Research has revealed that bananas in green and unripe form provide significant benefits when patients suffer from the problem of diarrhea. Green bananas incorporate starches, which are of digestive resistance and help in feeding of healthy bacteria inside the gut. These products make individuals gassy and thereby, help in adding bulk to their stools.
Furthermore, diet based on rice that contains cooked green bananas help in significant reduction of the overall amounts of stool in children and infants dealing with the problem of diarrhea and help in significant reduction in the overall duration of diarrhea.
The best thing about cooking green bananas is that it is easy and simple as all you need to do is place water, bananas and salt in a pot and allow it to boil. Later on, you should reduce the temperature and allow it to simmer for about five minutes until you find bananas have become tender. Now, you should drain the water and consume the bananas just like that or with any other food item, like oatmeal, for instance.
Phase 5 - Drink Vegetable Juices to Get Nutrients in Enough Amounts
Whenever you suffer from diarrhea, it is imperative that you consume nutrients in enough amounts to boost the overall immune system and in turn, allow recovery of the body. Drinking vegetable juices that provide vital minerals and vitamins gives plenty of benefits to patients, provided you use veggies, which do not worsen the diarrhea symptoms.
Root vegetables are healing foods and they are good to soothe the patients’ digestive system. Combination of foods like celery, carrots, ginger and spinach provide alkaline minerals and help in the nourishment of intestines as well as removal of toxins from the human body. For instance, carrot juice provides all of the vitamins excluding vitamin B along with many minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Other than this, juices come with high fiber content and they help in adding bulk to the stool. Root veggies have a high absorption capacity and are good for replacement of electrolytes and water lost because of diarrhea.
Phase 6 - Consume Foods with Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Sweet potatoes come with strong anti-inflammatory properties and contain Vitamin B6; Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Expert dieticians state that a sweet potatoes of 180 grams contains around 600 percent of the daily-recommended Vitamin A for patients. This means that sweet potatoes come with relatively more percentage of nutrients and also provide insoluble fiber that helps in firming of stool and reduction of diarrhea symptoms. Sweet potatoes are also low on the glycemic index(GI) which means they have a slower, less marked effect on the person's blood sugar levels.
Phase 7 - Use Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil helps in boosting the patients’ digestive system in many ways and helps in relieving both, diarrhea and constipation. Reason for this is that flaxseed oil is rich in vital fatty acids like Omega-3 that help to keep the body fully nourished, while also fighting with the problem of inflammation and increasing immunity.
Phase 8 - Use Ginger
Since many years, experts recommend the use of ginger as an effective aid to deal with digestive problems. Prime health benefit of ginger is its ability to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, which may result in diarrhea in the initial phase. Eating of whole ginger, drinking juice of fresh ginger and inhalation of diffused essential oil of ginger are effective ways of curbing stomach disorders.
Phase 9 - Intake Lots of Water
Research has revealed that dehydration results in major complications related to diarrhea. Severe and mild diarrhea may result in loss of lots of fluids and water from the body. Hence, if you are suffering from diarrhea, you should make sure you intake good quantities of water or any other similar fluid, so that your urine appears clear. Experts have said that one should intake 8 to 10 glasses of water in a single day.
A helpful thumb rule in this case is to get into a habit of drinking minimum one glass of water each time you suffer from the problem of loose bowel movement. Evidence has highlighted that for children and infants suffering from diarrhea, breastfeeding results in risk related to dehydration significantly and it is important to discourage drinking of carbonated drinks and fruit juices, as they result in increasing the risk related to dehydration.
Experts’ Opinion on the Diet
Pediatricians and other dieticians have recommended that children and infants suffering from the problem of upset stomach, diarrhea and loose motions should consume the BRAT diet that comprises of bananas, rice, applesauce and toasts for a period of 24 hours. This is because this combination helps in reducing the actual amount of stool and simultaneously, give guts a chance to rest.
The prime reason that justifies the intake of BRAT diet is that it contains binding foods of low fiber and facilitates in making firm stools. Especially, presence of bananas (potassium rich diet) helps a lot in replacing nutrients, which are lost because of diarrhea or vomiting. Along with this, American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents of small kids resume balanced and normal diet post 24 hours of avoiding diarrhea symptoms to allow the body to consume nutrients in adequate amounts.
BRAT diet has its common application when a person suffers from the problem of diarrhea. As patients deal with the problems of bowel movements in diarrhea, BRAT diet may help in appeasing of associated symptoms via replacement of all nutritional losses because of loose motions and vomiting. Other than being the favored diet plan for diarrhea, the BRAT diet also works when individuals suffer from gastrointestinal problems. This diet allows people to ease into their normal diet schedule again once their stomach problems subside.
Along with BRAT diet plan, doctors recommended their patients to go for some other alternative food items to deal with the problem of diarrhea successfully. These foods are low sodium type crackers, light veggies soups, boiled potatoes, pasta, honey and light broth of chicken.
Your Decision on the Diet
BRAT diet consisting of bland food items is easy and soothing for the digestive system. These diet food items act as helpful options for the initial 24 hours after you experience the symptoms of diarrhea. However, we should not continue relying on the diet for long time, as it does not contain vital nutrients required by our body to thrive and get well.
Moreover, based on key facts about nutrients and BRAT food items, we should include probiotic food items, oats, bone broth and juices as well along with the BRAT diet. Reason for this is that BRAT foods combined with necessary nutrients help in relieving symptoms and simultaneously bringing improvement in digestion. If your child or infant does not get any significant health improvement after consuming BRAT diet for 4 to 5 days, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor. Therefore, by bringing some simple changes in your diet, you could overcome the problem of diarrhea in a short span of time.