BRAT Diet: Effective Ways To Treat Diarrhea

Most of us will suffer from diarrhea a few times a year, whether it is a bacterial infection, a food allergy or just something you have eaten that does not agree with you. Diarrhea is usually not severe and often disappears in a day or two. Continue reading BRAT Diet: Effective Ways To Treat Diarrhea

Mom’s advice is always the best when it comes to home treatments for diarrhea: have chicken soup & saltines and support the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

You might think that eating will make your diarrhea worse, but your food choices can help to ease your symptoms and ensure your health doesn’t worsen as a result.

Why The BRAT Diet?

When a person suffers from vomiting or diarrhea, following the BRAT diet would be ideal. Diet helps to replace lost nutrients from the body during irregular bowel movements and vomiting.

When you have a stomach upset, the body has trouble breaking down and digesting complex foods. Bland, simple food is easier to deal with in such situations.

Bananas and rice are binders that help constipation. Pectin in applesauce is another ingredient that repels diarrhea. Therefore, the diet of chickweed for diarrhea is considered the best diet.

What is BRAT diet?

Here’s another little advice from mom to treat diarrhea – eat the BRAT diet: bananas, rice (white), applesauce and toast.

When your health is good, doctors generally recommend whole grain and high fiber foods. But high fiber foods can cause problems when you have diarrhea.

BRAT foods are low in fiber and can help make your stools firmer. Bananas are also rich in potassium and help to replace the nutrients your body has lost due to diarrhea.

Follow these tips on what you should eat and drink to prevent complications of diarrhea and help you recover faster:

Over-the-counter medications

With the supervision of your doctor, several over-the-counter medications can help with diarrhea. These drugs include attapulgite (Kaopectate), bismuth sub-salicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium). Although these drugs can relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, they do not treat the underlying cause.

If you have chronic diarrhea, you should not use these medications without the consent of your doctor. Chronic diarrhea is a case of diarrhea that lasts more than 14 days.

You should be especially careful if your child has diarrhea. Dehydration resulting from diarrhea can be dangerous for very young children. Talk with your doctor before giving them any medications, especially those containing salicylates or aspirin.

Drink plenty of fluids.

When you have diarrhea, the greatest danger is dehydration or loss of essential fluids and electrolytes. To avoid this potentially serious condition, here are the best choices on what to drink when you have diarrhea.

  • Coconut water
  • Mineral-rich bone broth
  • Pure water

Conventional doctors usually recommend sports drinks to treat dehydration, but these drinks usually contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners that can aggravate your diarrhea.

Eat small often meals.

Having heavy meals after diarrhea puts lots of stress on the digestive system, making it difficult for your stomach to recover to treat food properly.

Stick with clear liquids.

Some other great choices for treating diarrhea incorporate clear broth & water (unless if you are traveling out of the country).

Avoid drinks that may worsen the symptoms.

Caffeinated, alcoholic and sweetened beverages can aggravate dehydration. Milk and other dairy products can make your symptoms worse because diarrhea can cause temporary lactose intolerance.

BRAT Diet: Effective Ways To Treat DiarrheaWhat to eat after diarrhea

Your preference once diarrhea ends should be to replenish your body with nutrients that will assist enhance recovery. You can do this by adding these beneficial foods to your diet:


Probiotics are over-the-counter natural remedies for diarrhea. They are essentially “living bacteria” that exist in certain foods like yogurt. They also come in powder or pill form.

Antibiotics often kill the “good bacteria” that live in your gut. This can lead to diarrhea. Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria in your gut. Lactobacillus GG, acidophilus and bifidobacteria are three common types of probiotics.

Bland Foods

When you are dealing with a brief bout of diarrhea, you want to keep your diet bland. You may find that it is best to have clear fluids for the first 24 hours. Then you can slowly add healthy food to your diet. Some tasteless foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast – otherwise known as the BRAT diet. Crackers and mashed potatoes (less butter) are also safe.

If your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, you may want to investigate the foods you eat, as some can irritate your intestines and make diarrhea worse.

These include fiber-rich foods (bran, whole grains, brown rice) as well as fatty or excessively sweet foods. Foods that are sweetened with sorbitol can also aggravate diarrhea. If loose stools are a problem, then you may want to avoid these foods.

If you think your diarrhea is caused by some food, try an elimination diet. Cut the food suspected of your diet until you can determine whether or not it is a problem. If this is not the problem, do not hesitate to continue eating this food.

The difficulty that we can observe in many patients is that they do not put things back in their diet, even if they do not cause any problems, and now they have painted themselves into a dietetic corner. All patient diarrhea eating is mashed potatoes and rice.

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