The BRAT Diet, or sometimes known as the BRATT Diet, is simply an acronym for a type of nutritional approach to helping heal the gut from nausea, poor digestion, diarrhea, and general times of tummy upset. The letters BRAT stand for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. The other version known as the BRATT Diet, stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, tea, and toast. This type of diet was first formulated for children who were sick with the stomach flu, but is now common among adults today in times of upset stomach. Though this diet isn’t one you should follow to lose weight or enhance your health, it does have some benefits. Check out what you might can gain from trying the BRAT (or BRATT) Diet anytime you suffer an upset stomach, or just have general digestion problems.
1 Low in Fiber
We’re often told how amazing fiber is for you, and while it most certainly is, it isn’t always great for people with testy tummies. Enter the BRAT Diet comes in. Fiber can irritate the bowel in people who are sensitive to excess amounts of it. Fiber can cause horrible gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. The BRAT Diet is comprised of foods low in fiber, which will slow down their passage through the digestive tract, but still ensure regularity. The idea of the BRAT Diet is that the soluble fiber in the recommended foods will keep the bowels moving in a slower, but regular manner, and cause less pain, bloating, and gas.
2 Low in Fat
The BRAT Diet is also low in fat, and while you don’t want to eat this way for a long time, temporarily, it may help relieve gastrointestinal stress. Fat triggers the bowel and releases gastric emptying, which can be overwhelming to people with a sensitive stomach. It’s also the hardest macronutrient to digest, though it is vital to your health. The idea behind the BRAT Diet is to eliminate fat temporarily, just to allow the gut to have time to heal.
3 Beats the Bloat
As I said, since the BRAT Diet is low in fiber, it can greatly reduce bloating. Bloating is one of the worst issues women deal with today, and it’s often caused by a diet rich in healthy foods they’re told to eat so much of, such as fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are great, but excess amounts can cause pain pretty quickly due to gas and bloating. Though applesauce and bananas are fruits, they’re very easy to digest and actually reduce bloating due to their high potassium content.
4 Simple to Digest
All of these foods on the BRAT Diet are very easy to digest, which is one reason the diet works so well. Though this isn’t a nutritionally complete plan, it is a way to get nutrients into the diet, when you don't feel like eating anything at all. This diet should be a go-to for anyone looking to be able to eat, but still settle their stomach too. Many people use this diet during times of the stomach flu, or general times of nausea.
Though bland food isn’t something you would think would be beneficial, it is for people with sensitive stomachs or anyone suffering diarrhea. Spicy foods, or rich foods, can be painful to anyone suffering stomach upset, which is one reason the diet is designed around bland foods. If you need to season these foods to make them more palatable, you might try some ginger in your applesauce, which can help nausea or diarrhea, cinnamon on a banana, which helps digestion, or adding low sugar or plain jelly to toast to make it more palatable. Try to eat rice plain or with a little salt if you need some flavor. Overall, the simpler the better when it comes to foods on the BRAT Diet, so embrace the bland, and your stomach will thank you!
6 It’s Good for GI Rest
The BRAT Diet is not designed to be permanent, nor to be used for weight loss, and is certainly not to be used as the cornerstone of a healthy diet. What it is though, is a great way to give your gastrointestinal system time to rest. It is good to do the diet for around 3 days, which allows the entire digestive tract time to rest, before resuming a healthy, balanced diet.
7 It’s Cheap
Another benefit of eating this way is it’s cheap. No need to go out and buy fancy foods to take care of your stomach with this diet, since most of us can easily afford bananas, applesauce, rice and toast.
After you’re done eating the BRAT Diet, be sure to limit all high fat foods, red meat, and raw fruits and vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, caffeine, alcohol, sugary fruit juices, and soda. Work your way up to eating small portions of cooked vegetables, whole grain crackers, unsweetened yogurt, fish, and chicken if you can tolerate it. This diet is only for those that are nauseated, suffering extreme diarrhea, and are truly sick, not someone looking to lose weight, or try a new fad diet. Have you ever heard of, or tried the BRAT Diet?
Sources: bgsu.edu, medicinenet.com
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