What is the BRAT diet?
The BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) diet is primarily suggested by physicians for patients who are experiencing vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. This diet plan includes foods that are bland, gentle to the stomach, and helps solidify bowel movement in cases of diarrhea.
The BRAT diet is used by doctors to help their patients to slowly recuperate and get back their appetite. In addition to the BRAT diet, patients are also encouraged to drink more clear liquids, since vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration.
Although the BRAT diet is primarily developed for children, pediatricians no longer recommend it since the foods included in the meal plan lacks in calories and nutrients that children need to properly recover. However, adults can still try this diet, but keep in mind that it must not be done long-term as it might result in nutrient deficiency.
What are the Benefits of the BRAT Diet?
Aside from helping a patient to recover from stomach flu, here are the other benefits of the BRAT diet for vomiting and diarrhea:
- The BRAT diet is composed of bland foods that are gentle to the stomach, which reduces the chance of irritation.
- The diet includes “binding” foods or low fiber foods that help make the stool firmer.
- Although the BRAT diet does not give a lot of nutrients to the body, it can still supply some of the nutrients you may have lost due to vomiting or diarrhea. A banana, for example, is rich in potassium. Potassium will not only replace some of the nutrients you lost, but it can also help with dehydration since aside from being a mineral, it is an electrolyte as well.
When is a BRAT diet necessary?
A BRAT diet is recommended for people who are starting to recover from nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Keep in mind that the BRAT diet is not for children or adults who are still actively vomiting. To help you further, here is a sample diet plan you can follow:
Sample diet plan
First 8 to 12 hours
- When vomiting has stopped, it is advisable to give yourself and your stomach rest to recover from exhaustion.
- After an hour or two, you can start having little sips of water or nibble on some ice chips.
For the next 12 to 24 hours
- If your condition starts to get better, you can transition to more frequent sips of clear liquids (water).
- For vomiting or diarrhea, beverages with electrolytes can keep you from being dehydrated. Here are some clear liquids you can take: apple juice, flat soda, herbal tea, or a non-greasy broth.
- Remember not to take anything by mouth for an hour or so if symptoms of stomach flu return.
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