Healthy Eating Tips for Living with IBS

Written by on December 31, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page


Coffee MachineAnyone who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome knows what a painful and even debilitating condition it can be, and how important it is to avoid triggers that bring on episodes of diarrhea, gas and bloating. The most important thing IBS sufferers can do to manage their condition is to eat a healthy, low-fat diet and avoid foods that cause their digestive distress.

Not everyone responds to the same triggers, however, and so to find out what foods exacerbate your particular digestive system, you’ll need to do some detective work to isolate them one by one. Start with these common culprits, eliminating one at a time and taking copious notes as to the results of your investigation.

Skip the Morning Java Line

Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are a stimulant, which is a definite no-no for anyone suffering from IBS! Stimulating the intestines can lead to diarrhea. For a diarrhea-free wake up call, try sipping some cold water or going for a brisk walk.

Don’t Do Dairy

A number of patients with IBS are also lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest lactose from dairy products. Lactose intolerant people can, however, usually handle small amounts of yogurt or cheese, and a number of lactose-free dairy products and soy milk are readily available. Stick to low fat or fat free versions however, since dietary fat can also increase diarrhea symptoms in IBS patients. If you elect to do away with dairy altogether, however, you should consider taking a calcium supplement.

The Wheat Whammy

Many IBS sufferers turn out to be gluten-intolerant, and may even suffer from celiac disease, or gluten allergy. Gluten is a type of protein that comes from rye, wheat and barley products and can damage the intestines of those who are allergic to it, along with worsening irritable bowel symptoms. At least half of IBS patients are gluten-intolerant. If you suspect gluten may be one of your triggers, stick with some of the many available gluten-free products for a while and see if your symptoms improve.

The Greasy Spoon

Grease was an excellent movie, but as a dietary staple it can do a number on your digestive system. Skip the takeout line altogether, or try nibbling a French fry or two off of a friend’s plate rather than getting your own order. Limit fried and fatty foods to very small quantities and try to get your entrees grilled or baked whenever possible.

Beans, Fiber and Other Sources of Natural Gas

While beans are wonderful sources of protein and fiber, they can also be a source of locomotion for sufferers of IBS, causing gas, bloating and cramps. Avoid beans at all cost! Insoluble fiber from grains can also increase diarrhea symptoms and should be consumed in moderation.

Try to get most of your fiber in the form of soluble fiber such as that found in fruits and veggies. You may find, however, that a certain fruit or vegetable is one of your triggers, so try eating only one type at a time if you have any doubt.

The best way to manage irritable bowel syndrome is through moderation. Eat regular, small meals, don’t overload on any one type of food and avoid those that you know are irritants to your intestines. Be kind to your digestive system and it will be kind to you!

Every drug and medication available on the market inevitably causes some sort of side effect or unintended consequence, therefore any time a disease or condition can be managed naturally, through dietary and lifestyle changes then so much the better for the patient.

This is a guest post.  Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /


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