Bananas & Rice for Diarrhea

Doctors sometimes recommend people with diarrhea eat bananas and rice as part of the BRAT -- bananas, rice, applesauce, toast -- diet. Although you don't need to restrict yourself to just these items, these foods may help you recover from diarrhea, according to

Bananas tend to be relatively easy to tolerate when you have diarrhea. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Help Stop Diarrhea

Plain white rice may help stop diarrhea by acting as a binding food and making your stools a bit more solid. MedlinePlus recommends white rice and other refined grains during diarrhea rather than whole grains, which contain fiber that is harder to digest. A few studies also back up the use of rice and bananas during diarrhea, according to an article published in "Practical Gastroenterology" in June 2007. Rice may reduce the amount of stools and improve rehydration during diarrhea, and eating cooked green bananas as well as rice may help decrease the amount of stools and stop diarrhea sooner than rice diets alone.

Provide Nutrients

Rice and bananas also provide essential nutrients, including carbohydrates to give you energy. Bananas help replace the potassium you lose during diarrhea and also provide significant amounts of fiber, manganese and vitamins B-6 and C. Rice will help you meet your daily needs for iron, manganese, selenium, folate, niacin and thiamine.

Other Good Foods to Try

While you have diarrhea, avoid foods high in fat or sugar, alcohol, carbonated beverages and caffeine. You may also want to avoid vegetables and fruits that give you gas and dairy products, but only if they make you feel worse. Potatoes are a good choice because they provide potassium and are relatively bland. Salty foods, such as soup or pretzels, will help replace electrolytes you lose in your stools. Cooked carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, acorn squash and green beans are usually easy to digest, too. Skinless baked chicken, crackers, pasta, oatmeal and pancakes without much syrup can also help round out your diarrhea diet.

Length of Use

Only stay on a restricted diet like the BRAT diet for a short time. Go back to your regular diet as soon as your stomach can tolerate it, as the BRAT diet doesn't contain enough of all of the essential nutrients. It tends to be too low in calories, protein, fiber, calcium and vitamins A and B-12. Eating some of the other foods that are well-tolerated during diarrhea besides bananas, rice, applesauce and toast will help you get a wider range of essential nutrients.

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