If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may be thinking “what can I eat for IBS?”Below I describe the best diet for IBS.
IBS is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms. There are 2 types of IBS:
- Spastic colon-type IBS – where gripping pain is common and alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
- Painless diarrhoea-type IBS – there is urgent diarrhoea usually upon rising and often after a meal.
- Abdominal pain
- Food intolerances – most commonly to wheat, dairy, coffee, tea and citrus fruits. Although an intolerance can be present to any unsuspecting food.
- Stress – your digestion shuts down during periods of stress leading to a lack of digestive enzymes and stomach acid. This can lead to incompletely digested food irritating the gut.
- Parasites – 49% of people with IBS are known to have the parasite Blastocystis hominis. And 20% of people with IBS have the parasite Dientamoeba fragilis.
- Gut dysbiosis – an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria present in your gut and/or overgrowth of Candida.. This can be triggered by a poor diet that has insufficient fibre, and is high in alcohol, fatty fats and sugar. Also taking antibiotics will upset this balance.
- Other diseases – occasionally the symptoms of IBS can be mistaken for a more serious underlying condition such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or diverticulitis. So it is very important to go and see your doctor.
Diet for IBS
Foods to Avoid for IBS
- Refined wheat – is high in gluten, which can be irritating to the gut and is usually the biggest factor in IBS.
- Cow’s milk – comes next.
- Flour – from any sources gunks up the bowel in sensitive individuals.
- Citrus fruits – especially oranges
- High tyramine foods – such as cheese, port, red wine, sherry, beef, liver, herring, sauerkraut and yeast extracts.
- Melted cheese – is very hard for the body to digest. Avoid at all costs.
- Refined foods – such as white rice, pasta, cakes, pastries, alcohol, fried fodds, high-sugar foods and those foods high in saturated animal fat found in meat and dairy all deplete good bacteria in the gut and help feed the bad guys.
Foods to Eat for IBS
- There are plenty of alternatives to wheat e.g. wheat-free bread, amaranth, spelt, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, oat and rye crisp breads, and rice and corn cakes, which are delicious.
- You can now buy lentil-, corn-, rice- and potato-based pastas.
- Try organic rice,almond or oat milk , or try goat’s or sheep’s milk instead of cow’s milk.
- Eat more brown rice which is cleansing and healing to the digestive tract. As well as potatoes, fish, lean poultry, fruits and vegetables.
- Peppermint, fennel, chamomile and rosemary teas can enhance digestion and ease discomfort.
- Instead of orange juice, try low-sugar diluted apple, pear or pineapple juice.
Also the FODMAP diet can help with IBS.
Courteney, H. (2008). 500 of the Most Important Health Tips You’ll Ever Need. 3rd edn. London: CICO Books. pp. 212-214
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
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