Upset stomach and digestive issues are one of the most common health problems. To treat stomach issues doctors usually recommend following a bland diet for a few days. The Brat diet is one such diet that pediatricians have suggested to patients with digestion problems.
What Is The Brat Diet
The brat diet is a simple short-term diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This weird food combination is useful in helping people recover from stomach issues such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. The brat diet is intended to provide the body with easily digestible food. This allows the digestive system to rest and heal.
Foods To Eat In The Brat Diet
- Bananas – These potassium-rich fruits help in regulating the fluid levels in the body. This is important for people experiencing diarrhea as they lose a significant amount of potassium as well as body fluid. Bananas also contain carbohydrates and minerals. Which is why they can provide the body with energy and help in regulating bowel movements.
- Rice – Rice contains a high percentage of carbohydrates and has a neutral taste. Due to this, it’s a good option for anyone with a decreased appetite. Rice also absorbs fluid from the gut making it a beneficial choice in case of diarrhea.
- Applesauce – Applesauce has vitamin C, soluble fiber pectin, and phytochemicals. Vitamin C speeds up the healing process. Pectin acts as a prebiotic to feed good bacteria and promotes overall gut health. Pectin also helps in treating constipation.
- Toast – Toasts are low in fat and easily digestible. Whole grain toast is a great source of fiber which helps in regulating gut health. It also contains carbohydrates and thus aids in maintaining blood sugar levels.
Apart from these staple foods, clear broth and sports drinks are also allowed in the brat diet. They help in keeping the body hydrated. This is essential for diarrhea patients who lose high amounts of fluid.
Foods To Avoid In The Brat Diet
- Dairy Products – Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, and chocolates cause an increase in the production of water and electrolytes in the gut. This causes loose stools and can easily worsen the symptoms of diarrhea and similar conditions.
- Spicy Foods – Spicy foods contain compounds like capsaicin, gingerols, shogaols, cumin, and allicin which can cause inflammation and irritation in the gut. They also cause an increase in the production of digestive secretions leading to loose stools. This further worsens diarrhea.
- Alcohol And Caffeine – These two drinks are diuretics. Which means, they increase urine production and cause dehydration. They also increase digestive secretion production and can worsen a diarrhea patient’s condition.
Brat Diet Meal Plan
Here is an example of all three meals in a day following the brat diet,
- A toast with a small spread of butter
- Clear broth
- Cooked rice
- Plain unsweetened yogurt
- A banana
Along with these, one can have rice crackers as snacks.
Brat Diet Recipes
Here are some easy and simple recipes you can try in the Brat diet.
A) Brat Toast:-
- Take 2-3 pieces of bread.
- Toast them till they turn golden brown.
- Spread a thin layer of unsalted butter or jam and serve.
B) Rice Porridge:-
- Add 1 cup of washed rice and 4 cups of water to a saucepan.
- Add 1/4th tablespoon of salt.
- Boil it over high heat for a while.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer. Stir once in a while till the mixture has a tender consistency. Preferably for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve it hot with some honey.
- Add some chopped apples, water, and sugar to a saucepan.
- Cook it over medium heat.
- Stir it occasionally till the apples are soft and broken down.
- Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into a bowl.
- Mash the apples with a fork.
- Add some lemon juice and it’s ready to be served.
Brat Diet Health Benefits
The brat diet offers several health benefits which include but is not limited to,
- Rehydration:- Patients get easily dehydrated during diarrhea. The Brat diet is rich in fluid and thus rehydrates the patients.
- Nutrient Replenishments:- The brat diet offers food choices that contain plenty of necessary minerals and antioxidants.
- Restores Gut Health:- The staple foods in this diet are gentle on the digestive system and less likely to irritate the gut. It also restores gut health by promoting good bacteria in the body.
- Alleviates Nausea:- The food choices in the brat diet are bland and easily digestible. For this reason, it doesn’t trigger nausea in the patient.
Aside from these health benefits, the brat diet is easy to follow and offers minimal, time-consuming recipes. This makes it a great option for people who don’t feel well enough to dedicate much effort towards preparing their meals.
Brat Diet Health Risks
- Lack Of Protein:- The brat diet doesn’t provide one with enough protein. This can be harmful in the long term as protein helps in building and repairing body tissues, regulating hormones, providing energy, and many more bodily functions.
- Interference With Absorption Of Medications:- Certain medications taken during diarrhea and other digestive problems, require an acetic environment to be absorbed. The brat diet can interfere with this, leading to the medications not being effective.
- Not Suitable For Children:- The brat diet only provides some nutrients, which is far from enough to support growth and development in children.
How Long Should One Stay In The Brat Diet
The brat diet is limited in variety. Reasonably it gets boring and unsatisfactory to follow pretty quickly. It is generally recommended to follow it for no more than 1-2 days. However, it’s best to seek guidance from a trustworthy healthcare professional. One should seek treatment immediately if the condition worsens or doesn’t go away even after this short time period.
Before hopping into this diet without being aware of the long-term result of this diet would be an irresponsible decision. Following the brat diet for a long time can affect one’s body negatively, as its restrictive nature may lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems.