Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an inflammatory condition that affects the large intestine. It comes with symptoms like bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, constipation, or both. Some people can manage these symptoms with simple dietary and lifestyle changes, but medical intervention is needed when it comes to chronic conditions. It is advisable to undertake healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to manage mild symptoms of IBS.
Here are some IBS dietary tips that can help patients cope with this condition:
1. Eat more fibrous food
One of the most important dietary tips for people with IBS is to include a lot of fibrous food like fruits, beans, and vegetables in the diet as it helps ease symptoms like constipation.
2. Reduce the consumption of dairy products
Many people with IBS are allergic or intolerant to lactose, which means milk and dairy products might lead to flare-ups. It is best to reduce the intake of milk, but people who do not have lactose intolerance can continue eating dairy products like yogurt as it is beneficial for gut health.
3. Avoid foods that cause gastrointestinal (GI) pain
Many foods like beans, cabbage peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, and soda can aggravate GI pain, so it is advisable to avoid or limit their consumption. Patients should maintain a log of the foods eaten and discontinue the intake of foods that cause the symptoms to worsen.
4. Increase the intake of probiotics
These are specific strains of bacteria that improve gut health and are found in fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, and Kombucha.
5. Limit the intake of fatty foods
Minimize the intake of fried food, red meat, dairy, and other fatty foods as they are difficult to digest and often lead to a feeling of bloating. These foods can also cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.
6. Spicy food
It is a helpful dietary tip for IBS patients to avoid excessively spicy food like red and green chili and hot peppers as they can make the large intestine go into spasms, causing diarrhea and heartburn.
7. Avoid smoking
Nicotine causes IBS flare-up, and inhaling and swallowing smoke can irritate the system.
8. Graze, and not gorge
One of the most important IBS dietary tips is to eat smaller but more frequent meals instead of eating large portions. Having too much food at once can overstimulate the digestive system and cause bloating, pain, and diarrhea. Also, chewing properly is important while eating.
9. Lifestyle changes
IBS dietary tips will help manage the symptoms to some extent, but these dietary changes should be accompanied by other lifestyle changes as well:
- Lower stress
Stress is one of the main factors for IBS flare-ups, and it is important to keep stress levels in check. Meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises can be used as ways to relax and unwind.
- Regular exercise
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This will have manifold benefits and help in reducing stress levels, keeping the body fit, and releasing endorphins.