Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. Though the direct causation of IBS is not completely understood, some common IBS symptoms include stomach pain, changes in bowel movements including diarrhea or constipation, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. It does require diagnosis by a medical professional, but patients are still able to largely treat it through changes in diet.
These are some common food groups which are known to irritate IBS:
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. It refers to foods which contain large amounts of fermentable carbohydrates. These types of carbs have been shown to lead to increases in both bloating and stomach pain, which are two major symptoms associated with IBS. Following a low FODMAP diet has been shown to significantly ease those symptoms for those suffering with IBS. A low FODMAP diet includes restricting FODMAP foods and then gradually reintroducing them into the diet so that you can identify exactly which ones your body can and cannot tolerate.
2. Raw veggies
Raw veggies are known to be great sources of nutrition, however, many of them are also full of soluble fiber which is easily fermented by the flora found in the human gut. This fermentation process can cause issues for some including gas and bloating. Since these are two complaints of those with IBS it is recommended that vegetables rich in soluble fiber be avoided or that those vegetables are only consumed after cooking them to break down some of the chains of soluble fiber and make them easier to digest. Examples of vegetables that should not be eaten raw include cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. Some alternatives to consider are carrots, cucumbers, salad greens, and beets.
3. Soft drinks
Soft drinks or sodas should be avoided by those who suffer from IBS for two reasons. First, they are usually chock-full of caffeine which is a known irritant of IBS. Caffeine leads to an increase in acid production in the gut which in turn can cause stomach pain. Secondly, many of these drinks also include sweeteners such as fructose and sorbitol. Both are known to have laxative effects which may magnify any problems with diarrhea that an IBS sufferer may deal with.
Just like soft drinks, chocolate can trigger IBS due to high concentrations of caffeine and sugar. For those who have a sweet tooth, some alternatives include vegan chocolates. Many of these vegan substitutes have been shown to be just as tasty as the real thing.
5. Large meals
Eating will of course stimulate the digestive tract. Those with IBS already must be sensitive to how their digestive tract works during normal eating and large meals can actually exacerbate the situation by leading to over-stimulation of the digestive tract. It is recommended that meals sizes remain modest, in addition to ensuring that the food consumed is gut friendly.
Though there is no cure for IBS, following these suggestions can help bring some relief to IBS patients. There are plenty of tasty and healthy options available with just a bit of research and patience.