Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects digestion, leading to problems with bloating, constipation, diarrhea and gas. Usually accompanied by pain and discomfort, this medical condition can interrupt your day-to-day life and make it difficult to do many of the things you once enjoyed.
Although there are medications available that can help control the symptoms of IBS, many patients get just as much relief by altering their diet.
Certain foods can worsen IBS symptoms, while other foods help soothe the digestive tract.
Because what you eat has such a dramatic affect on your digestion, managing the symptoms of IBS often comes down to making smart food choices.
The following foods tend to aggravate the digestive tract, causing IBS flare-ups.
However, keep in mind that every person is different. What irritates one person may not irritate you, and vice versa.
It is important to experiment with eliminating different foods to find the ones that trigger your symptoms. By doing so, you can create a customized diet plan that allows you to live your life free from the pain, embarrassment and bloating associated with IBS.
Foods that are high in fat are notoriously difficult for the digestive system to process. That’s why antacid commercials always feature someone at a diner who is suffering with heartburn after eating a big plate of fries.
For people with IBS, fried foods can cause even more problems. Their high fat content wreaks havoc on the digestive tract, causing bloating, pain and diarrhea.
The problem stems partly from the excess amount of fat, and partly from the fact that it is really easy to overeat when consuming fried foods.
Try replacing your favorite fried foods with healthier baked options instead.If you do occasionally treat yourself to fried foods, limit your portion sizes to reduce the impact on your digestive system.
Beans and other legumes are excellent sources of key nutrients and provide a great deal of fiber. Unfortunately, however, they also are well-known for their effect on the digestive system. Even in healthy people, beans can cause gas and bloating. For IBS sufferers, they can be a nightmare.
Try to limit the amount of beans that you eat. Instead, opt for other protein sources such as lean meat, tofu, nuts and seeds. Speaking of nuts, be sure to avoid peanuts as well.
Despite their name, they are not a true nut. Instead, they belong to the same family as beans and can have the same disastrous effect on the digestive system.
Another point worth noting is that you may be able to tolerate certain types of beans better than others.
If you love beans and don’t want to give them up completely, experiment with several different types of beans to see which ones are the easiest for you to digest.
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, can be extremely difficult for people with IBS to digest. In fact, it is estimated that half of all IBS sufferers are sensitive to gluten. When eaten, it can cause damage to the digestive tract and can trigger an immune response.
Celiac disease is a condition where a person can’t tolerate any gluten. Many people are diagnosed with IBS when they really suffer from celiac disease. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, you may still suffer from gluten intolerance.
The best way to determine whether or not gluten is affecting your digestion is to try eliminating it from your diet for at least two weeks. Be sure to read labels carefully during the elimination period since gluten is often added to foods as a thickener.
Fiber is generally considered to be beneficial for digestion. It helps to bulk up the stool, which can lead to better elimination habits. However, for people with IBS, too much fiber can be a bad thing; particularly if that fiber comes in the form of insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber is usually found in grains and legumes. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is usually found in fruits and vegetables. Focus on meeting your daily fiber needs by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
At the same time, work on eliminating foods that are high in insoluble fiber. By doing so, you can ease the burden on your digestive system and relieve your IBS symptoms.
If you do decide to eliminate dairy, be sure to take a daily calcium supplement.result, they have difficulty digesting milk and other dairy foods. Try eliminating dairy to see if your digestion improves.
Managing IBS starts with knowing which foods to avoid. By eliminating common trigger foods from your diet, you can control your symptoms and limit the impact that IBS has on your life.