We have written about the use of acronyms before in our posts. Examples include STROKE
and more. They can be very useful to help people remember what to do in certain circumstances.
Even so, it is still a good idea to refresh the memory from time to time.
BRAT is yet another acronym and it helps you to decide what you can safely eat when you have been ill when symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhea. This bland-food diet is suitable for both adults and children, helping you to recover from an upset stomach. This is because:
- It includes “binding” foods. These are low-fiber foods that can help make your stools firmer.
- It includes bananas, which are high in potassium and help replace nutrients your body has lost because of vomiting or diarrhea.
The BRAT diet can also be helpful to some women who suffer from morning sickness during pregnancy.
B.R.A.T stands for:
B – Bananas
As they are high in fiber, bananas can help restore regular bowel action as they normalize colonic functions in the large intestine to absorb large amounts of water for proper bowel movements, helping the body restore structure and body to the stool. A banana really is a natural remedy for many ills
. When compared with an apple, a banana has 4 x the protein, 2 x the carbohydrate, 3 x the phosphorus, 5 x the vitamin A and iron, and 2 x the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. Potassium is the mineral the body needs to help it replace nutrients lost because of diarrhea.
R - Rice
If your spleen is not functioning properly, you may suffer from loose stools among other symptoms. The spleen likes the "comfort" feeling after eating and is successfully nourished by foods such as a good old fashioned rice pudding. Stick to white rice which will work as a binding food that is low in fiber, easy to digest and kind to the stomach.
A – Apples
We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor at bay” and, being rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, they have plenty of health benefits. But it is apple sauce (made with organic apples) that is especially suitable as part of the BRAT diet. Apples are one of the “dirty dozen” of fruits and vegetables that you should try to buy organic. This is because these need extra pesticides in order to reach your local supermarket. 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
The key anti-diarrhea component of apple sauce is pectin, a thickening agent that works just as well on stool as it does on food. Here is a quick and easy recipe for instant raw apple sauce which will take just 8 minutes to make.
You will need 1 large Granny Smith (or other) organic apples – cored and quartered; 1 T apple cider vinegar; 1 t vanilla extract; and 1 t cinnamon. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a blender or food processor and blend until smooth before spooning into glass jars. Refrigerate and use within a week.
T – Toast
In the same way as rice, toast is another binding food that is low in fiber, easy to digest and kind to the stomach. While toast, and wheat products in general, are not considered to be the healthiest food resorting to a few slices (over the couple of days of being on the BRAT diet) is probably not going to be too life threatening. However, if the diet is for longer then it would be wise to use gluten-free bread which is now much more readily available.
In fact, it is well to know that BRAT is nutritionally incomplete and may be deficient in energy, fat, protein, fiber, some vitamins and calcium. So not ideal for long term use but good as a short term solution.
It is important to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration
Sipping rice water or coconut water or sucking on an ice cube are good ways to keep hydrated while a rehydration solution will help to restore lost salts, sugars and electrolytes.
Here is just such a simple rehydration solution
Ingredients to make 5 cupfuls:
1/2 level teaspoon of natural salt.
6 level teaspoons of unrefined sugar.
1 liter pure filtered drinking water.
Stir the mixture till the salt and sugar dissolve and keep sipping all day long.
A word of warning
Please note that medical attention is required, when on the BRAT diet, if there is any blood or mucus present in the diarrhea, if the diarrhea is severe or if it lasts longer than 3 days.