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Diet for diarrhea

BRAT diet for diarrhea

For a long time, doctors and nurses advise patients with diarrhea to follow a BRAT diet. 
BRAT is the acronym for:

  • Banana,
  • Rice,
  • Apple puree (applesauce in English),
  • Roasted bread (toast in English).

Often these foods have the effect of “hardening” the liquid stool. 
In addition to these, other foods can help with diarrhea. 
Knowing the right foods to eat and foods to avoid helps manage the symptoms. 
In case of severe diarrhea, this type of diet is recommended without other foods.

Bananas can help relieve diarrhea and the associated symptoms. Bananas are astringent foods and compact the stool, meaning they help to increase the shape of the stool so they can pass more slowly through the intestines. Banana is rich in potassium , a vital nutrient that is often reduced during bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. 
This food is ideal for breakfast.

White rice and mashed potatoes
Thanks to the low fiber content, these starches are easily digested in the gastrointestinal tract. 
Eat rice and potatoes without additives; the butter has a high fat content that can irritate the digestive system and cause intestinal cramps.

Apple Puree
The pectin contained in apple puree helps to reduce feces and may reduce the symptoms of diarrhea. 
The natural sugar of puree helps to recover energy lost during illness. 
This food is appropriate because it is light and well tolerated by the body.

bread Toasted bread can help relieve diarrhea by adding stool mass. 
Eating bread with nothing is a light food with carbohydrates.

It is recommended to chew the dried blueberries or make a boiling tea from the crushed dried blueberries for about 10 minutes. 
The usefulness of blueberries for diarrhea seems to be due to contained tannins that act as astringents, contracting tissue and reducing inflammation and secretion of mucus and liquids. 
Blueberries also contain substances called anthocyanosides that have antibacterial properties and are a good source of antioxidants. 
In the end, blueberries are another source of soluble fiber (pectin).

Peppermint Tea
Peppermint has a calming effect on the gastrointestinal system. 
It is believed to soothe and relax muscles along the intestinal tract, thereby reducing spasms. 
Peppermint also appears to be effective in reducing intestinal gas.


How long should you follow the BRAT diet?

About 24-48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared, begin a standard diet with fruits and vegetables. 
Avoid for one week:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Café
  • Leite (Saunders et al – 2014)
  • Fried or fatty foods

People who follow a vegetarian diet should eat cooked food, not raw. 
Some raw fruits and vegetables can make diarrhea worse.

The Dukan diet is high in protein and involves a lot of meat and fish that help fight diarrhea.


Many people think that drinking liquids during diarrhea can make the situation worse, but it is not true. 
In fact, drinking liquids is a must to recover the lost electrolytes. 
Drinking only water does not help, you need to drink other liquids such as:

  • Soup
  • Vegetable or fruit juices
  • Tea with lemon
  • Rice or soy milk

To taste soups made with:

  • Asparagus tips,
  • Beets,
  • Carrots,
  • Peeled courgettes,
  • Mushrooms,
  • Cooked celery.

Try the tomato sauce or a baked potato without peel.

In case of mild diarrhea the person does not run the risk of dehydration, but it is recommended to drink a lot. 
When a correct choice of fluids is made, you can easily recover the level of the electrolytes. 
Some methods to recover liquids in case of dehydration are to drink rice milk or a mixture of sugar and salt in a glass of water (homemade soil). 
Teas are among the best fluids for the gut. 
For a person with diarrhea, it is recommended to drink 8-10 glasses of liquidsmentioned above each day. 
Children and the elderly have a greater risk of dehydration because they usually drink little.


Foods to Avoid in Diet for Diarrhea

We know what foods to eat when we have diarrhea, but it is equally important to know the foods that cause diarrhea.

  • It is necessary to avoid dairy products , except yogurt. 
    This is because when a person has diarrhea, the intestine stops the production of the enzyme lactase that helps to digest lactose .
  • It is necessary to avoid carbonated drinks . 
    In a healthy individual does not cause diarrhea, however, when a person suffers from diarrhea irritate the stomach.
  • Spicy foods , fried eggs, or other fried  or high-sugar foods can stimulate bowel movements.
  • Foods rich in fiber that can worsen diarrhea include: dried beans, corn, bvegetais (such as lettuce and tomato), seeds, nuts or whole products and vegetables.
  • The fruit and juice contain fructose which can worsen diarrhea
  • The marmalade contains fruit and sugar
  • Caffeine- containing beverages (such as coffee and tea) may have a laxative effect
  • Alcoholic beverages (including beer, wine and spirits) may aggravate diarrhea
  • The fatty meats (such as bacon and bologna) can worsen diarrhea
  • The monosodium glutamate (one flavor enhancer) can worsen diarrhea
  • Enormous amounts of walnuts or walnut butter can aggravate the symptoms
  • The candy can make symptoms worse
  • There may be a laxative effect on dried fruit such as figs, palm fruits, raisins and plums
  • The prune juice can have a laxative effect
  • Sugar-free candies and gums contain sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol that may have a laxative effect
  • The pizza should be avoided because it contains mozzarella
  • The real licorice (no sweets) can have a laxative effect.

In addition to food choices that can be irritating, there are many supplements that can cause more frequent bowel movements and aggravate diarrhea.

Supplements That Help Stop Diarrhea
Psyllium (cher et al. – 1993)
Blackberry oil root (used as tea) 
(Verma et al. – 2014)
Probiotics (Narayan et al. – 2010)
Pectin (Xu et al. – 2015)
Activated charcoal
Bovine Colostrum (Saad ET AL. – 2016)
Linseed oil


Supplements that can aggravate symptoms
Borage pollen
Borage oil 
(Takwale ET AL. – 2003)
Cayenne pepper
(Huskisson – 2008)
(Sirico et al. – 2018)



Probiotics contain live bacteria that resemble the healthy bacteria that are normally found in the digestive tract. 
Probiotics can increase the number of healthy bacteria present to fight germs in the digestive system. 
In pharmacies, probiotic supplements are available. 
Beneficial bacteria are also found in yogurt.

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