The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. This bland diet is usually recommended by doctors for patients recovering from a gastrointestinal sickness.
Patients are often advised to follow the BRAT diet after a sickness including vomiting or diarrhea. The foods included in the diet are low in fiber and can help make stool firmer. Bananas are also high in potassium, which helps replenish nutrients lost from vomiting or diarrhea. These foods are gentle on the digestive system and are usually well tolerated.
Adequate hydration is important while following the BRAT diet. Drinking plenty of water and supplementing with a sports drink or an electrolyte drink is recommended.
Other bland foods are sometimes added to the BRAT diet, including saltine crackers and clear soups or broths. Fatty foods, sugary foods and diary products are not included because they may upset the stomach of the dieter.
The BRAT diet does not include all the nutrients needed to be healthy, so following it is only recommended for a short amount of time after an illness. Within 24 to 48 hours most people should resume a normal diet, including fruits, vegetables and protein. This ensures that the patient has adequate nutrition to recover completely from the illness.