Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the colon. In people with IBS, the contraction of the intestinal muscles is either stronger or weaker than that in people without IBS. Stronger contractions of the intestinal muscles, that last longer than normal, lead to bloating, gas problem and diarrhea. On the other hand weak contraction of the intestinal muscles slows down movement of food through the intestine and causes constipation. The exact cause of IBS is unclear but a variety of factors such as certain foods, stress, hormonal changes and certain gastrointestinal problems seem to play a role in triggering IBS. However, you can easily overcome the symptoms of IBS by modifying your diet.
Here Are 8 Effective Diet Tips For Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are excellent healing food for IBS sufferers. They are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibers. The leafy green vegetables best suited for IBS sufferers are kale, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, bok choy and collard. They are low in fermentable fibers. Hence, they do not trigger the IBS symptoms. Furthermore, they add bulk to stool. Therefore, they are effective in providing relief from constipation associated with IBS.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that are considered beneficial for the digestive health. Adding virgin coconut oil to the diet seems to help in alleviating the IBS symptoms. Moreover, the medium chain fatty acids help in reducing inflammation of the intestinal tract.
To overcome the symptoms of IBS, take psyllium. Studies have shown that while consuming bran did not help a large number of IBS patients, almost every IBS sufferer who took psyllium experienced relief from the IBS symptoms. The soluble fiber in psyllium helped in bowel formation and reducing abdominal pain and discomfort. If you are not lactose intolerant, take 10 grams of psyllium daily mixed with some yogurt twice daily.
Flaxseed is a beneficial food for IBS sufferers. Studies have shown that consuming two tablespoons of whole or ground flaxseeds daily helps in reducing the severity of the IBS symptoms. Flaxseed contains soluble fiber that helps in providing relief from constipation. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha linolenic acid, which help in reducing intestinal inflammation.
Although fruits are packed with nutrients, they tend to irritate the stomach and increase abdominal discomfort. Especially IBS patients suffering from diarrhea should eat fruits with caution. However, IBS sufferers can eat fully ripe blueberries.
6. Fermented Vegetables
Fermented or pickled vegetables are beneficial for IBS sufferers. They are rich in nutrients, easy to digest and are sources of probiotics. Compared with unfermented vegetables, the bioavailability of nutrients is higher in the fermented vegetables. The lactobacilli bacteria present in the cultured vegetable support healthy digestion that help in overcoming the painful symptoms of IBS. If you are suffering from IBS, eat pickled carrots, beetroot, cabbage, olive and cucumber.
7. Cow Milk Substitutes
Often IBS sufferers are intolerant to lactose or the protein casein present in cow milk. Replacing cow’s milk with non-diary substitutes such as soy milk, almond milk or rice milk can help people suffering from IBS. The cow’s milk substitutes are nutritious and do not trigger IBS symptoms.
8. Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Studies have shown that a gluten-free diet tends to help in improving the symptoms of IBS. Eliminating gluten from the diet seems to help in reducing bloating, pain and fatigue and improving bowel movement. Apart from IBS patients suffering from celiac disease, gluten-free diet is also beneficial for IBS sufferers who are not sensitive to gluten.