All About Diets: What Is the BRAT Diet?

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The BRAT diet helps ease symptoms of upset stomachs. During the diet, people are advised to eat bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

The BRAT diet can help alleviate symptoms of upset stomachs. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. This diet helps people recover from an upset stomach, but it's not a good idea to follow it for too long. The BRAT diet does not offer enough nutritional value to be comparable to a regular diet. Typically, people follow this diet for about 24 hours. It's not meant to be a diet for those with chronic stomach issues, notes WebMD.

The medical term to describe an upset stomach is dyspepsia. The flu, colds, eating the wrong foods or consuming too much caffeine can cause dyspepsia. The BRAT diet is helpful for anyone with symptoms including an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, states Healthline.

Bananas are helpful for upset stomachs because they have a lot of potassium and are easy to eat. Bananas also have pectin and sugar. All of these nutritional items work together to encourage bowel movement and replace lost nutrients due to dehydration. Some people believe that green and unripe bananas are more effective than ripe bananas for the BRAT diet.

Rice is a bland food that is easy to digest. However, in some cases, avoiding high-fiber foods like rice is a good idea during an upset stomach's worst points. However, as it subsides, rice can be a good food item to help people recover.

Applesauce is full of nutrients, and it's flavorful while still being gentle on the stomach. The best type of applesauce for the BRAT diet is the unsweetened type because too much sugar is not good for upset stomachs. Applesauce has many vitamins and minerals to help replenish lost nutrients in the body.

Toast is another food item that can help with upset stomachs. It's bland, easy to digest and is high in carbohydrates. It's best to eat the toast plain, and the recommended type of bread is regular white bread.

Additional Helpful Foods to Soothe an Upset Stomach
In addition to the BRAT diet, you can ingest additional items to help alleviate symptoms. Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, eat some ginger and be sure to drink plenty of water, notes Bel Marra Health. Water flushes out your system and, when someone is sick, it's easy to become dehydrated, which can perpetuate the illness.

To intake apple cider vinegar easily, it can be helpful to mix a tablespoon in with water or another juice since it has a strong taste and odor on its own. For ginger, drink ginger tea or grate some fresh ginger and use it in soup or broth.

Foods to Avoid During an Upset Stomach
Some of the foods to avoid during an upset stomach include foods that are high in fat, grease or spice. It's helpful to also avoid highly processed foods. Additionally, raw vegetables can further aggravate an upset stomach, so steer clear of those as well. For adults, avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Monitoring One's Wellness
During and after the BRAT diet, it's important to keep track of one's wellness. If symptoms are not getting better or getting worse, consult a doctor for proper guidance. Also, if any of the components of the BRAT diet appear to not help, exclude the item from the regimen.