IBS Diet Guide

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder of the digestive tract characterized by abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea and or constipation, changes in bowel habit, etc. it is not a life-threatening condition and does not increase the risk of developing colon cancer or other serious diseases of the digestive tract but can seriously affect the ability to perform daily activities or travel around in the affected persons. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can take any of the following forms; IBS with constipation in which the person continues to have recurrent episodes of constipation in addition to other gut discomfort, IBS with diarrhea whereby the patient has repeated or recurrent and violent episodes of diarrhea, Mixed type IBS whereby the patient has alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea in addition to other symptoms and finally, the unsubtyped IBS. [1] This condition is quite common around the world, and even though the origin or exact cause is still unknown, it has been discovered that certain diets, lifestyle, stress and several other factors play a role in triggering this condition. Making changes to the diet is one of the major home remedies or lifestyle adjustments that serve as a treatment requirement for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Healthy Foods to Eat when Treating IBS

Making dietary changes as a way of treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a very necessary step but should be done with care while bearing in mind the type of symptoms the patient experiences and the kinds of foods that trigger symptoms in each person. The changes may just be a switch from unhealthy food to generally healthy food, or it may be a more specific or strict change in diet to specific kinds of foods to relieve symptoms. It is often wise to monitor and discover foods that trigger symptoms in a person and keep a record of these findings. This will help to determine the foods to stay away from while switching to a new diet. Other triggering factors like stressful conditions should be noted as well and avoided. In some cases, stress triggers symptoms more often than diet or food, which should be noted. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, is a general rule. Other adjustments may depend on the nature of the person’s condition. Here are some healthy foods that one can eat while treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome [2]

  • Fruits and vegetables: these help to maintain a healthy gut and provide necessary nutrients. They improve bowel movement as well. However, because of their high fiber content, care should be taken for people who experience diarrhea symptoms.
  • Protein foods: protein foods usually recommended include; meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.
  • Starchy carbohydrates: bread, rice, cereals, pasta, plantain, potatoes are recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Water: adequate water intake is a must for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Two liters of water daily is highly recommended. Fluids like herbal teas are also welcome but should be taken with caution to avoid ingesting anything that may irritate the gut.
  • Take probiotics: these are microorganisms that are very useful in improving gut bacteria and gut health. They might be useful in treating IBS by balancing gut bacteria, improving digestion, and reducing bloating and diarrhea symptoms. Examples of probiotics generally available include; yoghurts and supplements. They should be taken only as recommended by a physician.