Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a combination of symptoms related to the digestive system. These symptoms stem from a variety of factors, often including one or more of the following:
- Allergies or intolerances to certain foods.
- Difficulty with digestion, malabsorption of certain nutrients and or foods.
- Malfunction of, or biological issues in the stomach area, its lining, and the intestines.
The symptoms of IBS are as painful as they are problematic, particularly for people with busy schedules who cannot afford to be slowed down by pain or bowel disturbance. Unfortunately there is not one dietary answer for all IBS sufferers. Each individual would benefit from following an elimination diet in conjunction with their health practitioner’s advice. There are, however, a few common dietary changes that may help reduce many of the symptoms associated with this condition. Here is a small list of 5 foods that are commonly thought to trigger IBS:
- Fibre - Many people do not know how much fibre they are really consuming. Along with the consumption of fibre, there must be also be a high consumption of water and moderate exercise because fibre to help move the fibre through the digestive system. Without enough water and body movement, fibre may become stagnant, causing excess gas and cramps. Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend the fibre to water ratio that you should consume according to your weight and height.
- Cruciferous veggies - The kings of gas, namely, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are excellent sources of nutrients that are low in carbohydrates, fat, sodium and calories. However, for IBS sufferers, these wonderful choices of food can be quite painful. They can produce excess gas and, in stomachs already weakened by inflammation, gas is not just a nuisance, but a cause for cramps, nausea and even diarrhoea.
- Legumes - You all know the song, ‘Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot!’ Well, not surprisingly, beans, hummus, and all things “starchy” also produce gas, contain excess fibre, and may not be good choices for IBS sufferers. Legumes make popular side dishes with just about every meal, but for IBS cases the best substitute for legumes is brown rice. This latter choice does not bulk up your belly and may not irritate it either. The best thing to do if check with your healthcare practitioner to see which legumes are suitable for you.
- Grease - Excess fat in meals means that your body will have a harder time processing the high oil content of food. It also means that your stomach will have extra work to do trying to make “something” out of the fat that it will have to break down with the help of your pancreas and liver enzymes. Try to go without excess fat for at least three days and note the difference in your digestion.
- The extras - Those fake foods that we consume, and do not belong to any food group, wreak havoc in our system. Sweets, alcohol, soft-drinks and chips of any kind contain something in excess (alcohol, sugar alcohol, fat, sodium, food colouring and other preservatives). These add-ons are foreign substances that can really hurt IBS stomachs. Eating foods that don’t come in a packet are the best choices. Eating food in moderation is the key to healthy digestion. Make the swaps that you need to lead a healthier, happier life.
Always consult your healthcare practitioner before starting major dietary changes.