colon health tips

- The BRAT Diet for Diarrhea -
Foods for Post Diarrhea Treatment

The BRAT diet for diarrhea treatment is often suggested as a way to maintain fluid intake and oral hydration during an acute gastroenteritis illness (sometimes called the stomach flu).

It offers foods for diarrhea treatment that are non irritating and have some nutritional value.

It is a gentle and safe diet for diarrhea treatment as well as recovery.

The reason these foods are recommended on a diet for diarrhea is because they are good source of important electrolytes like manganese, phosphorous, and potassium.

The recommended foods on this list also contribute carbohydrate for energy, soluble fiber, and trace vitamins as well as those all important fluids.

B = banana

a ripe banana

R = rice

bowl of rice

A = applesauce

bowl of applesauce

T = tea

steeping tea

Bananas provide energy in the form of carbohydrate, they have very little fat and can contribute a small amount of protein. Almost all vitamins are contained in a banana even if only in trace amounts.

The main contribution of rice is energy in the form of carbohydrate. It contributes protein, folate and a small amount of the B vitamins and electrolytes.

The main contribution of the applesauce is the trace amounts of most vitamins, carbohydrate for energy, soluble fiber, and electrolytes.

Tea of any kind will contribute very little nutrition but lots of fluid.

Most teas have trace amounts of electrolytes and if you drink them plain without sugar or milk there is no sugar, protein, or vitamins that are prevalent in teas.

If you want to drink tea when you have viral gastroenteritis or any kind of stomach flu that causes stomach pains and diarrhea then try a ginger tea which is good for settling the stomach.

What are electrolytes?

Surely you have noticed a theme here in this explanation of specific foods for diarrhea because the word "electrolytes" occurs often.

Without getting into a chemistry lesson let's just say that electrolytes are important molecules that carry electrical impulses. This helps keep nerves and muscles functioning properly. The most important muscle of course is the heart! (Your intestines have muscles too)

They have an added power of influencing fluid distribution in the body.

When electrolytes become depleted or when their distribution in your body is not in proper balance, fluid will not stay in the body compartments where it is most needed. The place where you need fluids the most is in your cells and your blood.

There are many specific and important electrolytes in the body, but the most predominant and important ones that might be lost through loose stools and vomiting are:

electrolyte words
  • sodium
  • potassium
  • chloride
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • bicarbonate



Q - What is NOT in the BRAT diet for diarrhea?

A - Probiotics - that's what!

Be sure to take probiotics supplements whenever you have an invader in your colon that causes stomach flu or acute gastroenteritis.

This makes sure that you will always have a healthy supply of good bacteria in your digestive system to provide ample competition for the other types of bacteria that you do not want to take over the neighborhood.

The four foods outlined here in the BRAT diet for diarrhea form the foundation for the simple diarrhea diet that gets its name from the first initial of each of the recommended four foods. Each one of these foods meets the criteria for a diet for diarrhea, ie. they are soft, non-irritating, have soluble fiber, contain some fluid and have some nutritive value.

Most importantly they will replace electrolytes that may be lost with frequent loose stools and vomiting that are the characteristic symptoms of an acute gastroenteritis episode .

...and if you do not feel like eating then don't...see these recommendations for diarrhea treatment and a diet for diarrhea for more advice on how to stop diarrhea at home.

by Beverly OMalley

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