Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS usually causes abdominal pain, bloating, etc. wherein the patient may get pain after eating food. Making changes to your diet can give some relief to this condition. A healthy diet consists of all essential nutrients and doesn’t involve unhealthy foods.
However, if you have IBS then there are few foods which being healthy may also cause pain or symptoms of IBS. This may again vary from person to person but you can still help yourself by avoiding the most common foods and by observing which food irritates your bowel.
Following These Tips Can Give Some Relief
- Avoid foods which can cause diarrhea and increase bloating. Caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, milk, etc. are few avoidable foods. You should also avoid sugary foods and fatty foods.
- Drink plenty of water and add more fiber to avoid constipation; exercise regularly.
- Eat more small meals frequently instead of few large meals. Eat slowly and chew properly.
- Prefer low fat and carbohydrates rich foods like pasta, cereals, fruits, etc.
- Though more fiber is recommended to avoid constipation, many people’ symptoms get worse after eating fiber. So, eat fiber in small quantities at a time.
- There is a diet called low FODMAP which doesn’t include carbohydrates hard to digest. Your doctor may suggest to try this. Foods like apples, cherries, apricots, nectarines, pears, blackberries, watermelons, plums, large quantities of fruit juices, dry fruits, beans, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, lentils, onions, snow peas, mushrooms, asparagus, wheat and rye products milk products, honey, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, etc. are not included in low FODMAP diet and thus should be avoided.
- Never give long gaps between meals.
- If you are doubtful of taking fiber then prefer soluble fiber over insoluble fiber which can be found in fruits (without peels) and oats.
Foods To Avoid
- Insoluble Fiber
Like mentioned before too much of fiber can be harmful when you are suffering from IBS especially insoluble fiber. It is rich in grains, vegetables and fruits. Insoluble fiber can increase the bloating and increase your trips to the washroom. So, instead of taking insoluble fiber, opt for soluble fiber. Prefer grains without bran and which are refined. Barley and oats are rich in soluble fiber but not insoluble fiber. Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, radish, parsnips, etc. are also good. Eat fruits like oranges, berries, bananas, mangoes, etc. If you have to eat fruits like apple, remove its peel which is rich in insoluble fiber and then eat. Take more of legumes like peas.
- Gluten Diet
Many IBS patients are also gluten intolerant; so, it is very important to take gluten free diet. Cereals like rye, wheat, etc. contain gluten and so should be avoided. Few other gluten rich foods are barley, bulgur, farina, graham flour, semolina, malt, french fries, processed cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, sausage, marinades, canned baked beans, puddings, hot dogs, energy bars, wheatgrass, flavoured coffees, beer, roasted nuts, etc.
Gluten is a kind of protein to which if you are allergic or gluten intolerant then this is called celiac disease. This is an autoimmune disease wherein the body cannot digest the protein, gluten. This can make changes to the intestinal cells resulting in poor absorption of the nutrients.
Other than celiac disease there is one more condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity which gives similar side effects or negative effects when consumed gluten diet. This is also gluten sensitivity and should be treated similarly by taking gluten free diet.
- Dairy Products
You already know that IBS patients should take low fat diet; and dairy products are rich in fats. This simply means that milk products should be avoided.
The second reason is that many IBS patients are lactose intolerant and all the dairy products are very rich sources of lactose, milk being the primary source of lactose.
If you want to still have milk products then you can opt for alternatives like soy milk, soy cheese, etc.
The negative here is you will lack calcium as you need to avoid milk products. Make sure to talk to your doctor about it.
- Processed Foods and Fries
You might already know how these processed foods and fried foods are made. These are quite rich in fats; they should be avoided as much as possible as fat is not good for IBS patients.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid them completely; you can check alternative cooking methods like grilling or baking.
We actually do not know what all goes into processed foods. They may contain ingredients which are harmful for you. Moreover these are usually rich in fats. So, it’s better avoid them; you make your pizza at home if you really want to have it using ingredients that suit you.
These are very rich sources of proteins and vitamins but unfortunately they cause bloating and cramps. It is essential to avoid beans completely if you are suffering from IBS.
We love having a cup of hot coffee every morning but caffeine in it actually stimulates the intestines where the root cause of IBS is. All the caffeinated drinks and products should be restricted completely. This also includes sodas and energy drinks. Opt for other sources of energy if you need instant energy.
The Low FODMAP Diet
We have already discussed about this diet but let’s understand it well. FODMAP means Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. This diet focuses more on removing the short chain carbohydrates which cannot be absorbed by the intestines properly. When you have IBS, it is important to make it easy for your digestive system to digest food easily and absorb nutrients. So, it is necessary to avoid all those foods which your body cannot digest easily. A research proved that these foods can increase bloating, gas and then result in pain and diarrhea.
As per this diet, you need to completely avoid all the milk products, added fiber, high fructose corn syrup, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, etc. artichokes and onions. It also suggests to avoid chickpeas and lentils.
Start taking lactose-free milk or soy products instead. You can take feta cheese, bananas, kiwi, strawberries and cantaloupes; vegetables like bok choy, carrots, potatoes, radish, turnips, etc. can be taken.
In addition to these avoid stress, exercise regularly and keep a diary to note down what food suits you and what not. You can take it to the doctor for suggestions and treat yourself accordingly.