Alternative Dietary Strategies for Digestive Illness
Here are some ideas for you to try during and after digestive illness, instead of following the BRAT diet:
Take probiotics or eat probiotic-rich yogurt: Certain probiotics can help reduce diarrhea, including Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii (15, 16, 17, 18).
Take prebiotic fiber: Prebiotic fiber feeds healthy gut bacteria. In one study, diarrhea resolved significantly faster in children and adults given prebiotics, compared to those given a placebo (19, 20).
Begin a regular diet within 24 hours of illness, as tolerated: Foods rich in protein, vitamins and minerals provide nutrition needed for proper recovery. Add small amounts of meat, fish, eggs, yogurt and cooked vegetables first.
Avoid foods that worsen diarrhea: These include milk, sugar, fried foods, spicy foods and caffeinated beverages. You can add them back into your diet gradually after a few days.
Include BRAT foods: Including bananas and rice as part of a balanced diet may help firm up loose stools. Bananas can also help replenish potassium lost in vomiting and diarrhea.
Drink electrolyte-rich fluids: Bone broth, chicken broth or beef broth are good options to replace water and electrolytes. For children, oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte are recommended (21).
Bottom Line: Taking probiotics and prebiotics, consuming a balanced diet and rehydrating can help promote recovery from intestinal illness.