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Saturday, 25 January 2014

The BRAT and CRAM diet for Diarrhea

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What you eat and what you don’t eat is of utmost importance when suffering from any gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea. First have BRAT diet and when your diarrhea severity starts subsiding, switch to CRAM diet. BRAT which stands for Banana, Rice, Apple sauce and Toast is good for you because these foods are bland and extremly low in dietary fiber. At the same time, they provide your body with the essential energy, without stressing your gastrointestinal tract, which it needs to function. However, this is not a substitute for oral rehydration solution but complimentary to it. How does BRAT diet do all this? Let’s know.

    B for Banana- gives you potassium, the mineral which controls the fluid balance in your body.
    R for Rice– boiled rice, the low-fiber carbohydrate gives energy without irritating your bowel.
    A for Apple sauce– has the component pectin, a soluble fiber which soaks the excess fluid in your intestine to slow down stool passage.
    T for Toast– again, like rice, is low fiber carbohydrate to provide you with essential energy needed by your body without stressing your bowel movement. Toast in BRAT diet means plain toast, without butter or jam or jelly. Yes you can have it with apple sauce though!

The ideal thing to do is to make it a BRATY diet by adding ‘Y for Yogurt’ to help grow friendly bacteria in your intestine. Sometimes, it is also converted to BRATT diet with an extra ‘T for Tea.’ A mild tea prepared with black tea leaves and without milk in it has also been used as a traditional remedy for fluid replenishment during diarrhea. While water in tea helps with rehydration, the astringent tannins of tea help in reducing intestinal inflammation.

Once your intestine is strong enough to bear a little more pressure, you should switch to a CRAM diet because BRAT diet lacks in essential protein and fats. Using BRAT diet for longer can adversely affect your body due to lack of protein and fat. So, adopt CRAM diet as soon as possible. CRAM stands for Cereal, Rice, Apple sauce, and Milk. In fact, certain researches in hospitals establish CRAM diet as a more effective remedy as compared to the traditional BRAT diet. These studies have validated the usage of cereals, rice and milk as a stop-gap diet plan for upset stomach including one that you experience during diarrhea.

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