Are you suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? The condition impacts the digestive system and affects 10% to 15% of the worldwide population. If you fall under this demographic, rest assured that there are ways to relieve your symptoms. Knowing more about your triggers will help you determine which foods to avoid with IBS. With different options available, it’s easy to avoid items that worsen symptoms like loose bowel movement and abdominal pain. Read on to learn more.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the stomach, mainly the large intestine. Aside from stomach pain, other IBS symptoms include diarrhea or constipation, gassiness, bloating, and stomach cramps.
We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you manage your symptoms through a proper diet and some lifestyle changes.
Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding foods like processed foods, fatty foods, and carbonated beverages will help promote gut health and overall health.
However, there are certain foods known to worsen IBS symptoms, specifically. Those living with the condition must adopt a strict diet to prevent food triggers that upset their digestive tract.
Eliminating foods that negatively affect digestion and worsen irritable bowel syndrome will drastically ease IBS symptoms. This is important, considering that irregular bowel function can disrupt your day and lead to other health problems, such as dehydration or hemorrhoids.
If you consume processed foods frequently or in large quantities, you will only exacerbate your IBS symptoms.
These foods have very little nutritional value and contain additives that affect the digestion process. Most of them have starchy, hard-to-digest carbohydrates that make IBS symptoms worse.
Foods high in HFCS such as chocolate bars, canned goods, pastries, and other processed foods contain artificial sugars that are hard to break down. Gut bacteria that digest HFCS can lead to fermentation that causes gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Be sure to check the label before you buy. If you see high fructose corn syrup listed as an ingredient, toss it out of the cart. Trust us, your tummy will thank you for it later.
Sugar substitutes can trigger IBS because they act as laxatives when combined with other trigger foods. Aspartame, sorbitol, and sucralose in sugar-free sodas, gum, ice cream, cereals, and “light” or “diet” food products can aggravate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms like diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Gluten is a group of proteins present in some grains like barley, malt, wheat, and rye. Gluten intake can cause celiac disease, a sensitivity that triggers an autoimmune response in the small intestine. It causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other IBS symptoms.
A gluten-free diet may include sweet potato and rice varieties like fiber-rich brown rice while avoiding IBS triggers, such as wheat and rye products including cereals and bread. Eliminate gluten from your diet to improve your irritable bowel syndrome IBS symptoms.
Dairy products are usually high in fat, which can cause diarrhea. Milk, sour cream, cheese varieties like cottage cheese, and hard cheeses are known IBS triggers that worsen symptoms of your gut health problems.
For your IBS diet, try shifting to plant-based dairy products like soya milk, rice milk, lactose-free milk, and soy-based cheese so that you can still enjoy some of the flavors without the digestive issues.
Frying foods can actually alter the chemical structure and lead to stomach bloating, acid reflux, and stomach aches. French fries, pork rinds, and fried chicken can trigger symptoms, especially when consumed in large quantities, so be sure to avoid them if you have IBS.
Beans and legumes like brussel sprouts and green beans contain carbohydrates called oligosaccharides. They contain sugar units that make them hard for our gut bacteria to break down. Eating them can cause gassiness and bloating.
Food products that are rich in insoluble fiber help with constipation by adding mass to the stool and enabling intestinal stimulation. Whole grains like rice and root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots are good sources of insoluble fiber.
In contrast, soluble fiber found in foods like figs, brussels sprouts, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and cruciferous vegetables help with diarrhea. Soluble fiber absorbs water and stays longer in the gut, which leads to soft stool.
The key is not to over-consume fiber to avoid replacing diarrhea with constipation, instead.
IBS is not a life-threatening disorder, but severe symptoms should not be overlooked as they could lead to other more serious digestive diseases and health issues.
IBS sufferers share common symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and gassiness.
However, if you have worsening symptoms along with other discomforts, you should seek medical advice. A doctor can help determine if other underlying issues need to be addressed, such as ulcerative colitis and other serious complications.
Watch out for the following symptoms:
You’ve probably heard about the low FODMAP concept by now. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols. These are digestion-resistant short-chain carbohydrates commonly found in many of the foods we consume every day.
Because of their hard-to-break chemical structure, they contribute to IBS symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
A study conducted by Harvard Medical School showed that avoiding high FODMAP foods may improve IBS symptoms, with 76% of people on a low FODMAP diet experiencing relief from their symptoms.
These are high FODMAP foods you should avoid: dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, wheat products, processed foods with high fructose corn syrup, sugar-rich fruits, some stone fruits, spicy foods with garlic and onion, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, and other foods with similar content.
Some of these are rich in fiber, which helps relieve diarrhea or constipation. But because they are high in FODMAP, they should be consumed with caution to keep an ideal balance that works for your specific IBS discomfort. A nutritious fresh fruit like apple or cooked vegetables can be high in FODMAP and should be avoided when suffering from IBS.
Now let’s get to the low FODMAP diet food you can actually eat.
Lactose-free yogurt made with almond milk or coconut milk is low in FODMAP. It contains different nutritional profiles, so it is best to check which type suits your particular need while alleviating your IBS symptoms. Almond yogurt has a high protein content, while coconut is high in fat.
A low FODMAP diet doesn’t mean avoiding dairy foods entirely. The key is choosing dairy products that do not contain lactose or milk sugar, such as lactose-free milk (similar to cow milk but with an added enzyme called lactase), almond milk, soy milk (soy protein variety), coconut milk, macadamia milk, or rice milk.
For cheese alternatives, stick to naturally low-lactose aged cheeses like Swiss, blue cheese, cheddar, pecorino, and brie. These FODMAP diet-friendly cheeses are just as flavorful without the IBS-inducing lactose.
Though most fruits are sugary and high in FODMAP, there are a few exceptions that are FODMAP-free and safe for your IBS. You should eat fruits such as honeydew, melon, cantaloupe, mandarin, orange, lime, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, berries like strawberries and blueberries.
For vegetables, you can have tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, carrot, bell pepper, eggplant, olives, potatoes, chives, ginger, and turnips. This is not an exhaustive list, but you can search for vegetables of the same family as these to include in your low FODMAP diet.
To maintain a low FODMAP diet, you can get your soluble fiber from chia seeds, psyllium husk, brown rice, ground flax, and nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pine nuts.
Digestion issues primarily stem from what you eat, so it’s best to adjust your diet to alleviate IBS symptoms. The key is knowing which foods to avoid and which to include.
A FODMAP diet is recommended for those who need help with their IBS symptoms. Unfortunately, it can be a bit too restrictive, so it may be challenging to follow as a lifestyle. Those with IBS can tweak their diet based on their symptoms to find relief and even reap other health benefits.
Aside from being careful with what you consume, you must manage stress because it could also aggravate IBS symptoms. A good amount of rest and sleep, yoga exercises, and meditation can help relax our stomach muscles and relieve discomfort. A holistic approach through these lifestyle changes can help address many health issues in the mind and body.
New and exciting ways to manage irritable bowel syndrome are also on the way. Designed with high-quality biometric sensors, the Çava Seat can track your gut health, heart health, fitness progress, and more, without changing your daily routine. Daily bathroom visits provide some of the best information needed to identify gut imbalances and food sensitivities.
By tracking your vitals, body composition, and waste quality the Çava Seat is able to learn over time and make recommendations to help you live a healthier life.
Foods that are hard to break down cause strain to the digestive process due to their chemical composition. Common food triggers are processed foods, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, gluten, and dairy products containing lactose.
Low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) fruits and vegetables, animal meat (unprocessed), eggs, non-dairy milk and cheese, tea, coffee (use non-dairy creamer), and low FODMAP nuts and seeds. These foods are easy on the gut and help relieve symptoms when ingested regularly while avoiding food triggers.