IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a gastrointestinal disorder that leads to the manifestation of symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and pain. The exact cause of IBS is not yet known, but the condition leads to changes in bowel habits, constipation, urgent need to defecate, and a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely. One of the most important points to consider is that those who are diagnosed with IBS may face flare-ups of symptoms due to the consumption of some foods, while some other food items may help in soothing the symptoms.
For IBS patients, what are the foods that trigger the symptoms and should be avoided?
Each individual reacts to food in different ways, and some foods may not affect one person the way they affect another with the same condition. On the other hand, certain food items have been identified as general triggers for IBS, and avoiding them is the best way to ensure that the symptoms are not triggered or worsened. Knowing these types of foods can also go a long way in helping to know how to plan the diet consciously and avoid foods that cause discomfort. If one is unsure of what the trigger foods for IBS are, a good place to start is by maintaining a food journal and identifying how each of the foods consumed is affecting the body over a period of time. This will not only help to eliminate the trigger foods but will also ensure the right foods for IBS patients.
It is advised for those with IBS to follow a low FODMAP diet as it is low on most of the foods that trigger the symptoms and is also healthy in terms of the foods consumed as part of the lifestyle. The term FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides, And Polyols.
These terms are indicative of the different types of carbohydrates that end up aggravating stomach pain, gas, and constipation, which are the major symptoms of IBS. It is best to consult a dietician when trying to figure out one’s diet after being diagnosed with IBS as they may need to see how food is apt for the body condition. Some food items that are strict no-nos in for IBS are as listed:
- Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
- Any form of artificial sweeteners like xylitol, sorbitol, or maltitol.
- Chickpeas, lentils, soy products, and kidney beans.
- Pizza or any form of fried food.
- Grains like wheat and rye.
- Carbonated drinks.
- Fruits like pears, apples, cherries, and watermelons.
- All forms of dairy products that contain lactose, like milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, and sour cream.
The items listed are only some of the most commonly known ones that aggravate and upset one’s stomach during IBS. Keeping a food journal comes in real handy at this point as it helps to identify the trigger foods for IBS. When maintaining such a diary, it is important to make note of all that one eats, the quantity, and the ensuing symptoms. It will have to be recorded over a period of time to develop patterns of how the food affects the symptoms of IBS.
Look for ways to swap the foods acting as triggers for IBS
There is no restriction that a person with IBS has to eliminate the foods they love unless they are affecting the symptoms majorly. One can always look for ways in which a low FODMAP diet can be enhanced in flavor by using alternatives to make the food tasty. Some ways in which foods acting as triggers for IBS can be swapped are as follows:
- Pick fruits that are on low FODMAP, like cantaloupe, oranges, kiwis, strawberries, bananas, grapes, and blueberries.
- Ensure that vegetables like eggplant, ginger, cucumbers, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans are included.
- Avoid lactose rich foods by swapping them with yogurt to maintain the calcium intake. This also has an added advantage in helping to reduce the main causes of IBS, which a major concern for discomfort through the bacteria present in the yogurt.
- Instead of butter, cook with olive oil. One doesn’t have to completely switch and can use a little butter with olive oil so that the taste is also not compromised on.
- One should try to limit, if not able to eliminate, artificial sweeteners. This means leaving out the use of corn syrup and everything rich in fructose. One way to go about this is to substitute it with either maple syrup or use stevia.
Keeping a watch on all that one eats is not practical, but making a few changes in the food consumed can go a long way in helping ease through the symptoms and avoiding any flare-ups.