Dietary tips for IBS sufferers can help make the condition more manageable. Having IBS can affect your life quite a lot, so it's useful to be able to manage it better. Diet and relaxation techniques can help. Here are some dietary tips for IBS sufferers …
1. Identify Your Triggers
The first of the dietary tips for IBS is to identify any foods that trigger your symptoms. There is a lot of trial and error involved in trying to establish which foods work best for you, and which cause you problems. But once you know, you'll be able to avoid the problem foods when you have symptoms (you may be able to eat them at other times).
2. Fruit & Veg
Generally it's best to include lots of fruit and vegetables in your diet, but if you have IBS they may cause you problems. It's best to avoid eating the skins and pips if you are rushing to the bathroom a lot. Some fruit and veggies, such as apples and sweetcorn, will make you produce a lot of gas, so cut down on these. Don't drink too much juice either.
3. Wholegrain or White?
You'd think that eating whole grains would be better for you, but if you're an IBS sufferer white bread, rice and pasta can actually be better. This is because whole grains encourage your gut to work faster, which is not something you need if you're already using the bathroom too often.
4. Avoid Fatty Food & Limit Sugar
Food that's fried or has a high fat content is best avoided when you have IBS. Fat can make your gut work harder and be difficult to digest. Use other methods of cooking, such as steaming or baking. Sugary foods are often quite fatty, so may be a problem. It's also best to avoid any products containing artificial sweeteners, which can encourage your gut to get be too active.
5. Dairy Products
Dairy products are often a trigger for IBS. Even if you're not lactose-intolerant, it can provoke your IBS. Low-fat dairy products may be ok for you, but if you're advised by your doctor to exclude them altogether you can get your calcium from foods like fish, soya or rice milk, and lactose-free cow's milk.
When you suffer from IBS, you will likely find that drinks can be a problem for you. Caffeine can stimulate your gut, so if you drink coffee or tea, then limit your number of daily cups to a minimum. The same is true of alcohol; you may find it's best avoided altogether when you have symptoms. Your gut won't appreciate sodas either. Drink water or herbal tea instead.
7. Smaller Meals
Large meals can upset your gut, so try eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than the usual 3 larger meals. You should also take your time to eat and not rush your meal. A probiotic supplement may also help restore the balance of 'good bacteria' in your stomach.
With trial and error you should be able to determine some of the foods that trigger your IBS symptoms. Your doctor can advise you as to if or how you should follow an exclusion diet. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can help, and you may also be prescribed medication. So if you experience changes in your bowel habits or see blood in your stools, see your doctor. Don't be embarrassed or scared; it's most likely not anything sinister. If you're an IBS sufferer, what have you found that helps?