Nutrition guidelines for IBS sufferers

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/07/2021 (454 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and cramping.

It can be exacerbated by stress, illness, and dietary habits or specific foods and beverages. IBS can be hard to diagnose because there are a lot of other diseases that have similar symptoms such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

If you are experiencing ongoing gastrointestinal upset, it is important to talk to your medical professional. Keep a journal of what you are eating and what your symptoms are so that it is easier to narrow in on what the problem may actually be.

Even some vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as vitamin B12 or a lactose intolerance can cause similar issues. When specific foods cause discomfort, it would be best to leave them out for a while and reintroduce in small quantities at a later date.

It is important not to do mass eliminations of foods because it would then be difficult to pinpoint which food is actually bothering you. Additionally, you can then be prone to nutrition deficiencies. Slow and steady trial & error is the best approach. To help improve symptoms of IBS it is recommended to:

• Eat at regular times each day;
• Avoid eating later at night;
• Stop eating when you are full;
• Do not rush through meals;
• Reduce the air you swallow. For example, limit carbonated beverages, avoid chewing gum and chew your food well.

You also want to stay hydrated and water is the best beverage to have. Some individuals find it easier to digest meals when they have fluids after meals.

You want to limit caffeine and sugary fluids such as juices and pop as these can make diarrhea worse.

Alcohol should also be limited. Fibre intake is important but this is very individualized, depending on symptoms. Aim for a balanced fibre approach. If you are constipated, you want more insoluble fibre like whole wheat and bran. If you have diarrhea, you would want to try soluble fibre like oats and ground flaxseed. Unsweetened applesauce and yogurt can also help.

Limiting spicy and greasy, high fat foods can also help to alleviate symptoms. Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, salami and high-fat desserts can cause discomfort.

Use healthy fats such as olive or canola oils and lower fat dairy products. It is also important to have a regular exercise regime, not only to help with IBS but overall wellness and stress-relief.

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com

Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse
Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

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