The loss of essential body fluids through diarrhea leads to severe dehydration. The frequent loose bowel movements leads to loss of vital body salts, nutrients and electrolytes. Diarrhea is the result of gastroenteritis. The condition is a viral infection, now also caused by the presence of parasites and /or toxins of bacterial nature. The patient's lifestyle and sanitary living conditions plays a vital role in keeping such infection at bay.
Good, wholesome food and fresh supply of clean drinking water helps a patient to recover within a few days. Undernourishment simply leads to dehydration and reduced life expectancy. Diarrhea is clinically viewed as a trigger symptom for dysentery, cholera, Crohn's disease or even a ruptured appendix. Treatment involves the incorporation of a diet plan for diarrhea with consumption of adequate amounts of water and increased liquid intake with added essential salts and nutrients.
BRAT Diet Plan
The BRAT diet plan is prescribed for patients with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. It is also effective in containing dyspepsia and gastroenteritis. The diet plan is not designed for a complete replacement of diet, rather an incorporation of the suggested components. The BRAT diet comprises bland and low fiber foods. The BRAT diet greatly reduces the severity of the condition.
The acronym stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. The diet plan is the genius of Duro and Duggan that was spotlighted in 2007. The positive effect of bananas and rice on binding bowel movements helps a lot. The amylase-resistant starch content in banana helps to reduce the onset of peptic ulcers and non-ulcer dyspepsia that set in, on account of the gastrointestinal condition. As rice is anti-secretory in nature, it supports oral re-hydration and decreases stool volume. The combination of all four components ensures that the amylase-resistant starch is split into fatty acids of shot-chain nature within the colon.
Implementation of the BRAT diet plan helps reduce and keep in check the loss of essential water and electrolytes. The pectin content in apple sauce and bananas significantly decreases stool volume and arrests diarrhea. Adding the diet components mentioned does not in any way make the meals nutritionally complete. The diet is to be incorporated within an existing and prescribed plan. The adopted diet, along with the BRAT components, needs to ensure proper intake of food components that equalize and balance energy, fiber, protein and vitamin requirements.
Instead of food restriction, the implementation of the needed dietary change works better for individuals suffering from diarrhea. Clinical analysis recommends intake of fluids charged with electrolytes. The BRAT diet plan for diarrhea needs to be adopted in conjunction with consultation with the primary health care provider. If there is blood or mucus present in the excretion or the condition worsens over a period 3 days, it is best to consult the doctor.
Things to Remember about BRAT Diet
- BRAT diet is devoid of protein, fat, calcium, fiber and can be incomplete in nutritious value. Following a BRAT diet for too long can cause the body to miss out on vital nutrients leading to malnourishment.
- Begin the diet by drinking clear liquids, like water, or a sports drink, mixed with water and drink about 10 glasses of water a day, to avoid dehydration.
- In case whatever you eat does not stay down, opt for resting the stomach completely for some hours. To replenish salts and electrolytes of the body, lost due to diarrhea, add Oral Re-hydration Solution to your liquids or diet.
- While following a BRAT diet, avoid citrus fruit juices, milk products, apple juice, prune juice, alcohol and grapes. Drink in small sips, rather than in big gulps, this increases the chances of the liquids staying down and not throwing up.
- About 24 to 48 hours after your symptoms have subsided, begin eating a more standard diet of vegetables and fruits. Avoid raw vegetables, cheese, coffee, milk and fried or fatty foods for a week.
BRAT diet for diarrhea has an alternative diet plan. It is referred to as CRAM and the acronym stands for Cereal, Rice And Milk. The endeavor of such diet plans is to ensure the retention of critical body fluid and strengthen the immune system to fight the viral, parasite and/or bacterial infection.