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Diarrhea is said to occur when a person passes loose or watery stools. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, frequent urge to evacuate the bowel, etc. If it is caused by stomach flu (gastroenteritis), drug therapy can help alleviate the symptoms. In most cases, it resolves in a couple of days, provided you take certain precautionary measures. Dehydration could occur in case of severe diarrhea. Therefore, individuals affected by diarrhea must stay well hydrated. Having Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) will prove beneficial. Also, you must pay attention to what you eat when you have diarrhea. Consuming food that is contaminated can lead to food poisoning, which is turn can cause watery stools. Also, consuming food that has not been prepared or stored properly could be a contributing factor for this condition. In order to ensure that the condition resolves quickly, you should follow a bland diet and stay hydrated.

BRAT Diet for Diarrhea

BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Bananas
Bananas are easier to digest, which is why they are recommended when a person is affected by diarrhea or constipation. Moreover, bananas are a rich source of potassium, which is an electrolyte that needs to be replenished to make up for the loss of electrolytes during diarrhea. Bananas are also rich in pectin, which is a water-soluble fiber that might help in resolving watery stools. Banana also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Rice
Rice is low in fiber, which is why it can be consumed. Along with rice, mashed potatoes can also be consumed. Both potatoes and rice are rich in starch. However, it is advisable to consume baked potatoes.

Applesauce
Since apples are rich in roughage, it is advisable to cook them. Consuming applesauce will not burden the digestive system. Moreover, applesauce is a good source of pectin and other nutrients.

Toast
Bread made from refined, white flour can be consumed. Whole grain bread is a rich source of insoluble dietary fiber, which can cause the food to move faster through the intestines. Toast is recommended as a part of BRAT diet. Along with toast, crackers can also be consumed, as the sodium level in crackers can help maintain the electrolyte balance in the body.

Other Remedies

Make sure that you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water.
After a loose bowel movement, drink at least 1 cup of liquid.
Have small meals throughout the day. Don't burden your digestive system by consuming heavy meals.
You can consume chicken soup, broth, or sports drinks.
Consume food items that are rich in potassium, pectin, sodium, and protein.
You can have yogurt, as live or active cultures present in yogurt help to establish a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

What NOT to Eat When you have Diarrhea

Processed food or food items that are rich in fat should not be consumed.
Don't consume broccoli, peppers, beans, peas, berries, prunes, chickpeas, green leafy vegetables, corn, etc., as these can cause gas.
Cut down on the intake of whole grain breads/cereals, nuts, and raw vegetables and fruits with thick peels that are rich in insoluble dietary fiber.
Dairy products should be avoided, as diarrhea could lead to depletion of lactase enzyme, which helps to digest lactose.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes should be avoided, as they cause gas and bloating.
Alcohol, caffeine, and aerated beverages need to be avoided, as these could irritate the stomach.

Follow a bland diet while you are recovering from diarrhea. Make sure that you don't consume food items that can aggravate the condition. If the symptoms don't resolve within 2-3 days, it's advisable to consult a doctor. Since experts believe that BRAT diet is deficient in certain nutrients, it's advisable to follow the guidelines given by your healthcare provider.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.