Have You Tried These Five Diet Tips to Alleviate IBS?

May 7th 2016

There is no easy way to create the right IBS diet for you, but by paying attention to what and when you eat and making changes one at a time to check their effects, you can take control of your symptoms. If you make radical changes to your diet, consult a medical professional to ensure you are still getting adequate nutrition.

Fiber

The type of fiber that affects IBS symptoms most is the insoluble fiber found in whole grains, vegetable skins, nuts and seeds. If you suffer diarrhea as a major symptom, cutting down on these items can help to control the symptoms. However, if you suffer from constipation instead or as well, increasing the amount of both insoluble fiber and water in your diet may help. The best way to handle this dilemma is to keep a food diary and try first one way and then the other for a week or two to see which helps you feel better.

Low FODMAP Diet

Bloating and intestinal distress are common IBS symptoms. For some sufferers, removing certain carbohydrates from the diet can help reduce the severity of these symptoms. These carbohydrates are called fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. They are difficult for the gut to break down and absorb, so they start to ferment in the gut before they are fully processed. The gases released during fermentation lead to bloating. Foods that contain FODMAPs include beans, wheat products, animal milks and certain fruits and vegetables. Because of the wide variety of foods that contain them, a diet reducing or excluding FODMAPs is quite limited; consult a medical professional to ensure you can still get the nutrition you need before trying this step.

Lower Resistant Starch

In a similar manner to the FODMAPs, resistant starches are not digested well in the gut and tend to reach the lower intestine relatively intact. This can lead to flare-ups and increased IBS symptoms. This substance is easier to avoid; however, as it tends to form during commercial processing or when food is reheated. Cooking fresh foods from scratch is therefore the easiest way to implement this diet change.

Avoid Stimulants

The clue is in the name. Stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine stimulate and excite the digestive system, leading to additional symptoms and greater severity of existing symptoms. Avoid them completely if possible, or ensure you only have small quantities in conjunction with other substances to dilute their effects.

Eat Regularly

The schedule that works for you is an individual thing, and it takes trial and error to create. Many people find regular small meals help, but if constipation is an issue, you may need larger portions of fibrous foods with slightly longer intervals in between. Whatever the timescale that works for you, stick to it. If you go too long without eating, there is a risk of your stomach filling with air, causing additional bloating and distress.

Conclusion

Irritable bowel syndrome is an unpleasant and incurable disease, but its symptoms can be managed. Making changes to your lifestyle and diet to control IBS symptoms and flare-ups helps you to regain confidence and live a more normal life. However, not all changes work for everyone, so you need to amend your choices to reflect what works for you and your symptoms.

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