Best Eating Practices for IBS Sufferers
While there is no universal diet that works best for everyone, people need to eat to benefit their own bodies and combat any health issues that they have. One health issue that can be helped by a specific diet is irritable bowel syndrome. There are several steps that patients can take to help relieve their symptoms and live a more comfortable life.
Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be able to benefit from some simple modifications to their diet. A great way to start finding what is right for you is to keep a food journal for at least a month. In this journal, write down everything that is consumed and all symptoms that follow. This will help to target the offending foods and learn to adjust your diet accordingly. Reducing the intake of foods that cause IBS symptoms to flare can be easier in the long run than adopting a very limiting diet that can cause stress, malnutrition, and reduce the quality of life.
Patients with IBS should talk to their doctor about their diet to make an assessment of individual circumstances that affect the patient, while simultaneously ensuring that all nutritional needs are being met with healthy eating habits and a balanced diet.
While certain foods may seem to trigger IBS symptoms, it is also important to note that the process of eating can also make IBS symptoms worse. Because eating makes the digestive tract begin to move, it can over-stimulate itself in response to food due to the IBS. One way to combat this is to eat smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals. Also, to help avoid over-stimulation of the gut, eat slowly and chew food thoroughly so it is easier on the body to digest.
People who suffer from IBS should avoid foods that are high in fat, as these tend to over-stimulate the gut. Fried foods, fatty meats, and foods with trans fats can make IBS worse.
If you are suffering from constipation with IBS, be sure to have breakfast. Breakfast is the most likely meal to stimulate the gut, creating a bowel movement. Some gentle foods to try that are beneficial to IBS patients are white bread, bagels, cream of rice, baked potatoes (without the skin), and banana bread. Clearly the theme is to avoid fat and eat plain and basic foods that your body does not have to work too hard to digest.
If you believe that a certain food is making your IBS worse, stop eating the food for three months. If you do not see changes in your symptoms, try cutting out a different food that you may think is offensive. Some foods that are likely to cause problems in people with IBS include insoluble fiber (like cereal), chocolate, caffeine, nus, and coffee.
Oftentimes, people with IBS avoid carbohydrates with FODMAPs. This is a type of carb that draws water into the intestinal tract, causing bloating. This includes beans, lentils, dairy, fruits, honey, apples, avocados, wheat, and onions. While avoiding FODMAPs is not a cure for everyone, most people who suffer from IBS experience an ease in their symptoms when avoiding these carbs.
If you are experiencing a lot of gas, belly pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea you may consider cutting out all forms of FODMAPs in your diet. This includes fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and sugar alcohols. Do this for one month to see if IBS symptoms are relieved. You will find that you will feel better very quickly if FODMAPs are the offending factor in your diet.