IBS treatment: Food to avoid with irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a condition that affects the digestive system, causing stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, diarrhoea and constipation. It’s normally a lifelong issue, but symptoms come and go. Along with medication, changing your diet might control the symptoms. So, what should you avoid eating if you have IBS?

How do you cure IBS?

There is no cure for IBS, but there are lots of things you can do that will ease your symptoms.

The NHS recommends trying to find ways to relax, and getting plenty of exercise.

The website also suggests trying probiotics for a month, as some IBS-sufferers swear by them.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that you can take in a pill in order to restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut, stomach and intenstines, which are often disrupted by IBS.

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What food is bad for IBS?

The first step to finding out which foods to avoid is keeping a food diary- this way you can identify patterns in your symptoms and rule out things that make you feel worse.

Try to cook homemade meals when you can so that you know exactly what is in your food and are able to figure out what triggers your IBS.

Many people with IBS are also gluten intolerant and/or lactose intolerant, so a gluten-free or dairy-free diet may help to improve these individuals’ symptoms.

Normally fatty, spicy and processed foods trigger IBS for a lot of sufferers.

Even for people without the condition, eating lots of fruit and fibre can cause diarrhoea, so try to limit your intake.

When it comes to drink, you should keep an eye on how much tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks you are consuming, as these are common culprits for worsening IBS.

As a rule, you should avoid foods that are difficult to digest, as they will cause bloating, cramps and passing wind.

Drink plenty of water to soften your stools and avoid constipation.

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What food is good for IBS?

Start your day with a bowl of porridge, the NHS says.

You should also pop some chia seeds or flaxeed in the mix, as these are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, reducing constipation.

Oats, along with other soluble fibre like barley, pulses, root vegetables, peeled potatoes, legumes (like peas), and linseeds, may also relieve constipation.

Choose berries, mangos, oranges and grapefruit over other fruits, as they are also examples of soluble fibre.

Opt for lean meats – white meat such as chicken and turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef – as they are mostly made up of protein which is easily digestible.

Eggs are also a safe option for most people who have IBS, whether you like them boiled, scrambled, or poached.

Salmon and other high omega 3 fish may be great for reducing inflammation.

What is the FODMAP diet?

The FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharaides, and Polyols) diet focuses on reducing or totally eliminating fermentable, short-chain carbohydrates.

High FODMAP foods are thought to increase fluid in the bowel and create more gas, which results in symptoms similar to those of IBS sufferers.

The FODMAP diet involves restricting lactose, dairy, fructose, added fiber, and some vegetables and pulses.

Speak to your doctor and see if the FODMAP diet would be helpful for you- it’s a great way to identify your triggers.

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