IBS Friendly Diet
By Nadine A Douglas
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common stomach problem. The cause is largely unknown. Typical symptoms vary but can include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and or constipation. The severity of symptoms vary considerably and can sometimes almost go away for periods of time. IBS can be better controlled by diet and in more severe cases, a combination of diet and medication. According to the National Health Service (NHS) website (UK), changing your diet can play an important role in taming IBS. The diet which will be most suitable depends on your symptoms and how your body reacts to different foods. It may be beneficial to have a food diary where you record what you eating and whether it makes your symptoms better or worse. It will then be easier to determine which foods trigger the IBS. Although avoidance of these foods is encouraged in the short-term, you may not necessarily have to do so permanently.
Health professionals will generally advise IBS sufferers to modify the amount of fibre which is consumed in their diet. However, there are two types of fibre and it is important that you know the difference between them. Soluble fibre can be digested by the body. Foods which contain soluble fibre include oats, barley, bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes, golden linseeds and rye. Insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body and foods which contain this include wholegrain bread, cereals, nuts and bran. If your IBS causes diarrhoea it may be beneficial to reduce your insoluble fibre intake. The skin, pith and pips of fruits and vegetables should also be avoided. In contrast if you suffer from constipation, it can be helpful to increase foods in your diet which contain soluble fibre.
Other steps which can help alleviate IBS:
• Have regular meals and ensure that you eat slowly
• Don’t miss meals or leave long gaps between eating
• Drink lots of fluids such as water and herbal tea (approximately 8 cups a day of non-caffeinated drinks)
• Restrict your tea and coffee intake (3 cups or less a day)
• Reduce your alcohol and fizzy drink consumption.
• Limit your intake of citrus fruits (high acidity content)
Some people find taking probitoics regularly helps minimises IBS symptoms. This is because probiotics are said to contain ‘friendly bacteria’ which helps your digestive system and gut function properly. This however seems to be based on little to no scientific evidence. Advice from thefooddoctor.com website states that if you decide to try probiotics it would be advisable to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding dosage.
Stress is known to be linked to IBS. Because of this, it is recommended that suffers attempt to reduce the amount of stress in daily lives. Some popular ways to help alleviate tension is regular exercise (such as walking, swimming or running) and relaxation techniques (such as meditation, yoga, pilates or tai chi). If you suffer from a more severe form of stress it may be advisable to consider stress counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Although there is no specific cure for IBS, putting some of these steps into action may help you control your IBS more successfully.
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Nadine ‘Diet Coach’ Douglas lost over 25 pounds after being overweight most of her adult life. She now runs a successful weight loss website which gives information about great resources which can help you lose weight and be healthy for long term success.
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