In order to be able to take the first step toward combating IBS, you must start off by asking…
What is IBS?
IBS is a gastrointestinal issue which is commonly characterized by mild to severe abdominal pain or discomfort, which becomes ultimately synonymous with recurrent diarrhea (IBS-D) and/or constipation (IBS-C).
Approximately 25-45 million people in the United States suffer from mild to severe IBS symptoms, affecting the female population more commonly (2/3 of those suffering are female).
Onsets of IBS occur more commonly in people under the age of 50.
The exact cause of IBS is still unknown. Though this is the case, much information has been obtained on how to help manage your IBS through proper nutrition.
What are the indicators and symptoms?
Recurrent diarrhea (IBS-D); may include increased urgency and loose stools
Recurrent constipation (IBS-C); may include increased abdominal pains, decreased frequency, followed by straining due to hard stools
Stools with a great deal of mucous present
Lack of appetite
What can I do?
Though, presently, there is no cure for IBS, there are ways to help combat it through appropriate lifestyle choices.
The first thing you will need to do is identify which you relate to presently, IBS-C or IBS-D.
If you are suffering from IBS-C, you will want to avoid or consume in moderation:
- Breads and cereals made with refined (not whole) grains
- Processed foods
- Coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol
- Diets high in protein
- Dairy products
If you are suffering from IBS-D, you will want to avoid:
- Too much insoluble fiber
- Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, or sorbitol
- Carbonated drinks
- Large meals
- Fried and fatty foods
- Dairy products
- If gluten intolerant, wheat products
To better help make your decisions, there is what is known as the Low-FODMAP Diet. This is a diet crafted for those suffering from gastrointestinal inflammatory responses to many and more of the foods listed above. Though the diet can and will be beneficial to those suffering from IBS, the Low-FODMAP Diet is more or less guidelines for things to consider and implement/exclude in your daily nutrition. Common foods on the Low-FODMAP Diet include, but are not solely limited to:
Cabbage, common and red
Celery (less than 5cm stalk)
Chick peas (1/4 cup max)
Corn (1/2 cob max)
Lettuce e.g. Butter, iceberg, rocket
Scallions / spring onions (green part)
Melons e.g. Honeydew, Galia
(Breads, Grains, Pastas)
Gluten free foods e.g. breads, pasta
Chips / crisps (plain)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup max)
Rice e.g. Basmata, brown, white
Almonds (max of 15)
Pecans (max of 15)
Lactose free milk
Soya milk made with soy protein
Soy milk made with soy beans
Quick Video with some Helpful IBS Info:
Video Published by: Central Clinical School, Monash University (December 14, 2015)