By Dr. Julia Lizy, MBBS (KEMU)
IBS proper diet - dealing with IBS by a Change in Diet
IBS is associated with relapsing episodes of abdominal discomfort (cramps, distention, pain, bloating) plus diarrhea or constipation (or both). According to a survey, IBS affects as many as 25 % of Americans.
While there may be many causes of IBS, no one knows the exact cause. This is why it is difficult for a medical doctor to make a clear-cut diagnosis of IBS.
Diet affects the prevalence of IBS. Some foods can lead to IBS and some foods can help to alleviate it’s symptoms.
By discovering which foods trigger IBS symptoms and which foods alleviate them, you can learn how to put together a IBS proper diet with meals that are safer for your colon.
By tracking results for six to eight days, a person can determine what types of foods are triggering their IBS in order to discover their own IBS proper diet.
To find out if you are reactive to a certain food, it should be totally eliminated from the diet for at least one week. If IBS symptoms diminish, then that particular food is suspect as one of your IBS triggers.
IBS Patients are generally sensitive to certain types of foods. The following are foods which can lead to IBS symptoms.
All oils, fats, and spreads
Diet and lifestyle changes can be used to reduce IBS. Eating healthy foods through an IBS proper diet is one of the best ways to manage it.
It is recommended that one keep a daily journal to help pinpoint their IBS triggers.
A. Healthy Eating
What to Include:
Plenty of fluids, including at least 8 glasses of water a day
Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits
Milk and dairy products. If LACTOSE INTOLERANT than include soya rice, etc.
Carbohydrates, including fiber rich wheat bread, sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta
Soluble fibers contained in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley, nuts and seeds
Meat and fish
Unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and seeds.
What to Avoid:
Caffeine containing drinks such as tea, coffee and colas
Alcohols and fizzy (carbonated) drinks
Foods producing gas such as beans, lentils, cabbage
Starchy foods such as pizza, cakes , biscuits etc
Reduce insoluble fibers contained in corn, wheat and whole grains.
Reduce artificial sweeteners
B. Life Style Changes
Don’t skip meals
Avoid larger meals. Instead, eat smaller meals more often
Do not eat late at night
Get regular exercise such as walking or swimming
Never skip breakfast
Sit, relax and take time to chew food thoroughly
Keep a daily record of what you eat and whether you experienced symptoms after eating it or not
A relaxed environment is helpful
C. Stress Relief
Watch your stress level carefully as stress can trigger spasms in colon
Adopt some stress releasing techniques
Exercise – try different exercises
Get enough sleep
Include time for relaxation
1. Dietary Fiber
In regards to an IBS proper diet, increasing one’s intake of soluble fiber found in oats, barley, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables helps to improve symptoms of constipation.
Decreasing the intake of insoluble fiber found in wheat bran, corn and whole grains may help to improve symptoms of diarrhea.
Since a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause symptoms of bloating and gas, it is best to gradually increase fiber into one’s diet while monitoring the results.
2. The Role of Probiotics
Probiotics are helpful in improving symptoms of IBS. Probiotics help to establish a better flora of bacteria. In the gut. They help in digestion and improve symptoms of gas and bloating.
As part of a IBS proper diet, probiotics are available in kefir, yogurt, drinks like Kombucha, fermented or cultured foods, plus they may be taken in supplement form.
3. Avoiding Problematic Foods
Certain foods are responsible for making symptoms worse, including alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine containing drinks, chocolates and sugar free sweeteners such as sorbitol.
Some gas producing foods such as beans, cabbage and broccoli should be avoided, especially in those who have a problem with bloating.
Fatty foods and resistant starches found in pizza and fried foods are better avoided as they tend to worsen IBS symptoms.
Swallowing air by either chewing gum or drinking with a straw can cause more gas problems.
4. Eliminating Items for IBS
IBS patients should keep a record of what they eat, then note the effect that their diet has on IBS symptoms.
When they leave a type of food out of their diet and see a relief in symptoms, then those foods should be avoided. Foods that are cut and bring no relief may be added back to their IBS proper diet.
New food items can be introduced gradually into the diet, and then their effect can be noted. Over a period of time a person’s diet can be normalized for reduced IBS symptoms.
5. Individualization of Diet
There is no one diet for IBS that is perfect for everyone. One man’s meat can be another man’s poison.
Each IBS patient has unique symptoms, stresses, triggers and reactions to different types of food. So a general diet to treat IBS must be adjusted according to each individual’s needs.
6. Dairy products
If a patient is lactose tolerant, they should try to avoid dairy products, or at least take in only a small amount.
If dairy products must be eliminated completely, a person should find other good sources of protein. Why are people lactose intolerant? It is generally because milk products are pasteurized.
The enzymes the milk contains to help digest it are killed during pasteurization. Some people have found that when they include raw, unpasteurized milk in their diet, they are no longer lactose intolerant.
They can even eat cheese and ice cream as long as they drink a little raw milk with it for part of your IBS proper diet.
The Role of a Magnesium Supplement in Controlling IBS
Whether Irritable Bowel Syndrome is predominantly diarrhea or constipation, both are because fecal material is coating the colon.
Supplemental magnesium may help to clean away this fecal coating, and help to restore normal bowel function. Continued intake of supplemental magnesium may also help to keep the colon clean.
Magnesium is also helpful for muscle function, blood pressure, and blood sugar regulation. The laxative effect of magnesium works two ways. It relaxes the intestinal muscles that are overly tense, and attracts water into the colon.
This can lead to a smooth rhythm of intestinal contraction and softening of stools and resolve IBS symptoms in as little as a month time.
As we have seen, IBS symptoms can be somewhat controlled by adjusting one’s diet. The challenge is to find the diet plan that works for you. Magnesium may help to reduce or eliminate IBS.