Monday, September 23, 2013

IBS Diet

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. This problem is associated with the functioning of the intestines. During digestion, the food that we eat moves from the stomach to the small intestine and then it passes on to the large intestine or colon. To ensure smooth passage of the food through the digestive tract, the intestinal walls need to squeeze a bit. Irritable bowel syndrome is one such condition where the intestines contract abnormally. Sometimes, it is too hard and at other times, it is not adequate. As a result, people with IBS tend to get frequent bouts of diarrhea and constipation alternately. An IBS diet should have all such foods that can prevent both these symptoms and restore normal bowel movements.

Causes and Symptoms of IBS

So far, the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not clearly known. It often arises when the contraction of the muscles present in the lining of the intestine is not proper. In some people, it is found to be genetic. Some get it after eating certain kinds of food such as fatty foods, caffeine substance, etc. Side effects of some medicines and psychological stress are the other factors often held responsible for this. A few typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain and cramping, constipation, inconsistent bowel movements, gas, bloating, diarrhea usually after eating, etc.

IBS Foods to Eat

When you are diagnosed with IBS, medicines are prescribed to treat the symptoms of IBS. Along with the medicines, a suitable irritable bowel syndrome diet is recommended. The foods to be included in this diet largely depend on the symptoms that you show. When you are having diarrhea, then the choice of foods will be slightly different from that of constipation. A list of suitable foods for IBS is given below.

Foods with Soluble Fiber Content
This kind of dietary fiber dissolves easily in water and forms a thick jelly like substance. Hence, it can be safely used during constipation as well as diarrhea. Foods that contain good amount of soluble fiber are rice, oatmeal, pasta, corn tortillas, carrots, potatoes and so on. These foods should be included in larger quantity in your meals and snacks. You can take these foods even on an empty stomach.

Foods with Insoluble Fiber Content
Wholewheat bread, cereals, bran, seeds, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables are some of the foods that have insoluble fiber. Insoluble dietary fiber improve bowel movements when you have constipation. For this reason, such foods are included in IBS constipation diet. However, you should be a bit careful while eating such foods, they are not suitable for empty stomach and should be eaten only in small amounts.

Foods with Low Fat Content
High fat foods are not at all suitable when you have bowel problems. Therefore, opt for those foods that are low in fat content. The total fat intake should not be more than 25 percent of your diet. Use monosaturated oils like olive oil for cooking. While buying packed foods like potato chips or soups, read label to check fat content.

Bland Foods
When you are going through an episode of diarrhea caused by IBS, then you have to eat bland foods to control upset stomach condition. The main component of bland foods are bananas, white rice, applesauce and white bread. These foods are suitable because they do not cause any kind of stomach irritation.

IBS Foods to Avoid

There are some IBS trigger foods that tend to aggravate its symptoms. Hence, they have to be eliminated from the IBS diet. Some foods to avoid with an irritable bowel syndrome are as follows:
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolk
  • Fried foods
  • High protein foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Dairy products particularly if you have lactose intolerance
General Dietary Advice for IBS

To achieve maximum benefits from IBS diet, you have to follow some healthy eating habits. A few suggestions in this regard are given below:
  • Avoid eating large meals as they can cause abdominal cramping. Rather, eat small meals more frequently. Ideally, you should have six small meals throughout the day.
  • Eat your meals on time. Do not skip any of the meals.
  • Do not eat in a hurry. Sit in a relaxed position and enjoy the food that you are eating.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday.
  • You are aware of the IBS foods to avoid. Stay away from all those foods.
  • If you are not sure whether a food item is among the IBS trigger foods or not then it is better to avoid that to be on safe side.
The characteristics of IBS is quite unique in every individual's case. Some of the foods for IBS that are recommended in this article may not suit you but they may work for other patients. Therefore, it is advisable that you monitor the foods that you are eating and the IBS symptoms for 2 weeks. If you find that you cannot tolerate any of the foods given in the IBS diet then you can stop that food or cut down on its intake.

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