Medical experts and Ayurveda doctors have always prescribed a healthy and balanced diet for the body to function properly. But for the patients with IBS, some foods trigger unpleasant IBS symptoms in their system.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a health condition that upsets the intestines and leads to abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and other bowel movement issues.
Since these symptoms vary from person to person, finding a definitive list of foods most suitable for IBS patients is hard. But here are some common foods that can positively affect your digestive system without worsening your IBS and others that can trigger the harmful symptoms of the condition.
Foods to Avoid For IBS
Here are some foods to avoid that can worsen your IBS symptoms and make them less manageable:
- Insoluble fiber stays intact as the food passes through the digestive tract; hence it can’t be properly digested and absorbed. Foods rich in it, like whole-grain products, wheat bran, vegetables, etc., make the pain and bloating worse.
- Other grain foods like bread, cereal, pasta, etc., contain gluten and can cause damage to the intestines in people with gluten intolerance. It hence leads to IBS symptoms.
- Dairy products have high fat in them, which can cause diarrhea. Furthermore, for some IBS patients, milk triggers their symptoms as the lactose in it worsens the IBS-associated gas and abdominal pain.
- Fried and greasy foods also contain high fat that can contract the intestines. Moreover, frying changes the food’s chemical composition, making it hard to digest, thus leading to digestive issues.
- Caffeinated beverages like coffee, energy drinks, soda, etc., can stimulate the intestines and cause diarrhea.
- Processed foods like frozen and premade meals, processed meats, and deep-fried foods contain excess sugar, added salt, fat, additives, and preservatives that can flare up the IBS symptoms in people.
- ‘Sugar-free’ products contain sugar alcohols and artificial sugar that are very harmful to digestive health.
- Beans, peas, lentils, etc., are rich in fiber and protein and contain indigestible sugars. Hence they are resistant to intestinal enzymes and hence are hard to digest for IBS patients.
- Some high-FODMAP vegetables and fruits to avoid include apples, cherries, mango, watermelon, peaches, pomegranates, beets, garlic, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, peas, etc.
- Other foods that can trigger and worsen IBS symptoms in patients include alcohol, spicy foods, honey, etc.
It is crucial to note that IBS is an individualized condition, and the body’s digestion and triggers to these foods vary individually. Thus it is recommended to take the best medical consultation possible to know exactly what foods you should avoid and what works for you.
Best Foods for IBS
Ayurveda doctors and healthcare professionals recommend a low-FODMAP diet to help IBS patients ease their symptoms.
FODMAPs are essentially the carbohydrates and sugar alcohols in foods that are difficult for the body to digest and absorb. And when the intestinal bacteria act upon those undigested carbohydrates after consumption, they cause abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhoea/constipation that worsen IBS in people.
To avoid this, here is a list of foods you should consume:
- To replace garlic, consider herbs like basil and oregano and green tops of scallions to replace onions.
- Consume decaffeinated herbal teas instead of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
- Eat low-FODMAP vegetables such as bell pepper, carrots, sprouts, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, ginger, turnip, bamboo shoots, potatoes, etc. It is recommended to eat cooked vegetables rather than raw ones for better digestion and gut health.
- It is always best to eat some low-FODMAP leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, etc., along with these vegetables as they are nutrient-rich and very less likely to trigger IBS symptoms. Moreover, cooking them with some olive oil is even more beneficial.
- Opt for gluten-free variants of grain foods such as bread and pasta.
- Some low-FODMAP fruits include orange, grape, lime, olives, papaya, banana, kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, etc.
- Oat milk, soy milk, lactose-free yogurt, and olive oils are good alternatives to lactose-containing cow milk and butter.
- Flax seeds and chia seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and soluble dietary fibers that help with constipation and ease other IBS symptoms.
- Low-FODMAP nuts like Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, etc., are also rich in protein, soluble fiber, and omega-3. They are not only good for gut bacteria but are also helpful in reducing inflammation in the intestine.
To further help with your condition, Ayurveda doctors prescribe Vijaya, a potent and effective herb for alleviating IBS symptoms. It is the best pain-reliever medicine that exhibits pain-relieving anti-inflammatory properties to significantly reduce abdominal pain and intestinal inflammation.
What to Eat While Away From Home?
Choosing the right diet while eating outside can be a challenge for IBS patients. You must eat in a way similar to the above-recommended diet plan. Go for healthy sauces and dressings on the meal to avoid much dryness.
It is best to avoid foods that are fried and/or contain excess oil. Reduce sugar consumption by taking a small portion of the dessert if you order any. Keep the spices in your food limited. And the most important thing is to not overeat, no matter how delicious the food is.
In case you are invited to a party or a friendly get-together, consider letting the host know, if possible, what your food needs and preferences are. If not, eat only what you think is safe for you and consume only a small part of a possible trigger food.
Consuming a healthy diet and avoiding trigger foods are crucial in easing your IBS symptoms. And as mentioned before, different people have different food triggers and tolerances. You might not be able to digest foods that some other IBS patient does.
Hence, it is best to contact Hempstreet and get the best medical consultation for yourself to know exactly what works for your body and what diet plan you should follow to help manage your IBS.