IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is one of the most common digestive complaints around the world. There has been a lot of research into what causes IBS, and certain foods are high on the list.
While you want to enjoy a variety of foods, you also need to put your digestive system first. You need to focus on protecting your digestive system. With the right diet, you will feel more comfortable, reduce bloating, and support your health. After all, your digestive system houses around 80% of your immune system.
There Are Different IBS Symptoms
Before you start looking at the foods that cause IBS, you need to think about the symptoms that you have. Unfortunately, there are different symptoms involved. Some people will suffer from constipation, while others will have loose stools. Managing the type of IBS, you get will involve choosing the right types of foods to add to your diet and keep out.
There is a common misconception that gluten and wheat cause IBS. While these are two very common reasons, there are many other foods that you’ll want to avoid or reduce.
You don’t have to cut out all the foods completely. Everyone is different, and you may find that some foods don’t cause a reaction. However, bear in mind that sensitivities can get worse over the time. After a while, you may find that you get symptoms again because you’ve kept some of the foods that have been known for IBS issues.
You’ll need to keep an eye on your diet and symptoms that you experience. Changing your diet regularly based on how you feel is important.
When Your IBS Causes Constipation
One of the main symptoms of IBS is constipation. Your digestive system just doesn’t work the way it should. It can’t get the food through and create the waste to remove. You’re left feeling bloating, uncomfortable, and in pain.
Foods that are made with refined grains are the worst for IBS constipation. These types of foods include some cereals and bread. Not that I say some. If you eat whole grains, you shouldn’t find that you have this problem.
White bread, sugar-filled cereal, and other similar foods are the most problematic. However, you may find other refined foods like cakes and cookies are an issue.
It’s not just the grains, though. Processed foods can also be a major issue. This is where the cookies come into play, but you’ll need to watch out for all processed foods. Even foods that are supposed to be natural, the processing will get rid of the nutrients. You end up with lots of additives, sugars, and refined items that just don’t agree with your digestive system.
Those who are a soda or coffee fan may find that they have a problem. Thisis linked to some of the additives in sodas, but also the caffeine levels. Alcohol also tends to cause an issue.
Surprisingly, high-protein diets can cause a problem with IBS constipation. Dairy products are commonly problematic, but any high protein food can be a problem. This is usually because you’re adding protein but not enough fiber.
Your digestive system needs the support and health. Fibre is the best way to keep your digestive system working effectively. You want to eat up to 25g of fiber a day to help get rid of constipation. The good news is that whole grains, legumes, and fruits & vegetables are excellent options.
You also want to make sure you increase your water intake. One of the issues with constipation is that the stools aren’t softening. You may have enough fiber, but not enough water to dissolve everything and fully soften the stools.
Ground flaxseeds can be an excellent addition to your diet. You just need to sprinkle a little over salad or into your meals. You’ll barely taste them, but your digestive system will thank you. Flaxseeds are commonly recommended for those with constipation for all types of reasons.
When Your IBS Causes Diarrhea
You may end up with the alternate option. Rather than constipation, you have runny stools, and you just can’t seem to find a balance. Your stomach is sore, and you constantly feel like you need the toilet. At times, you can be worried to just fart because you’re not sure what’s going to happen!
Those with IBS diarrhea could have an opposite issue to those with IBS constipation. Rather than not getting enough fiber, you could have too much of it. This is especially the case if you get too much insoluble fiber. Remember that you don’t need more than 25g of fiber a day. You may find that your body benefits from slightly less.
Unsurprisingly, too much caffeine, fructose, soda, alcohol, and even chocolate can cause a problem. They don’t have the mixture of nutrients needed and can act as laxatives. The foods help to keep stools soft and runny, but that can go too far.
If you also have a lactose sensitivity, you may find that dairy causes the opposite problem to constipation. Likewise, gluten can also lead to a diarrhea problem.
Fatty foods or fried foods tend to be a problem. The oils will go right through you and can’t be digested properly.
You’ll want to eat more soluble fiber. This is the type that will add some bulk to your stools, helping to solidify them a little. Opt for whole wheat foods, including brown rice, brown pasta, whole wheat bread, and cereals. The fruit without the skin is also a good option to increase your soluble fiber.
It’s Not Always About the Type of Food
Sometimes it’s not about the foods that you’re eating. There are times that temperatures within the same meal can cause a problem. While you likely wouldn’t eat hot soup and ice cream within the same meal, you want to make a conscious effort that you don’t do something similar. You don’t want extreme colds with extreme hot foods, as they cause your digestive system to become confused.
It can also be theamount of food that you eat. If you enjoy large meals, you can find that your digestive system becomes sluggish. You’ll have symptoms such as bloating and gassiness, as your body tries to turn all the food into waste and extract the nutrients. Opt for smaller portions whenever you eat.
Of course, water causes a problem with IBS. While you want to drink plenty of water to avoid IBS constipation, the water can make your stools too loose. Opt for water before or after meals, instead of drinking while you’re eating. Watch out for the extra water you take through some foods. If you suffer badly from the levels of water, you may want to cut back on glasses to counter the water in your foods.
What Exactly Do You Need to Avoid?
We’ve looked at some range of foods that cause IBS, but what exactly should you avoid or reduce in your diet? Which foods are most likely to cause you a problem and create the IBS symptoms? Here’s a look at the most common.
- Refined grains, such as white bread and some cereals
- High protein foods
- Dairy foods, including cheese and yogurts
- Processed foods, including cookies, cakes, and frozen dinners
- Beans and some legumes
- Insoluble fiber, including fruits & veggies with the skin on
- Too much water
- Energy drinks
- Fruit juices
- High-sugar foods/drinks
- Dairy products
- Wheat products
- Gluten products
- Fried foods
Specific Foods for Both Types:
- Green peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Some spices can also be a problem and make symptoms worse. This is because of the way the spices react within the body. Spices cause the body temperature to rise and will attempt to speed up the metabolism. The digestive system can’t absorb the nutrients, and the spices just don’t digest properly. You are more likely to have diarrhea than constipation when spices are the problem. You’ll want to opt for blander food, even though it won’t taste likefood.
Just because you don’t have constipation or diarrhea doesn’t mean you don’t have IBS. There are many other symptoms, including bloating, gas, and uncomfortable digestive systems. You can feel pain afterward, due to inflammation of your bowels. The 10 specific foods listed above are those that many IBS sufferers find cause a problem.
Following the FODMAP Diet
If you do have IBS symptoms, you will want to focus on a diet that is good for you. The FODMAP diet is one of the most beneficial diets. It doesn’t completely cut out carbohydrates, but it does cut out the ones that are more likely to cause IBS symptoms. It will also reduce the intake of other foods that are common problems for the intestines.
The Fodmap diet is an excellent way to cut out all the foods that have been listed above. Some of the foods may not make sense at first, especially since some vegetables are avoided. However, they are too high in fiber or have the wrong type, causing some of the IBS symptoms. Foods that have added fiberare also avoided, as you can end up with too much of the good stuff!
The great thing about the world today is that just because you can’t have milk or gluten doesn’t mean you should miss out. There are plenty of dairy free or gluten free alternatives. Almond and coconut milk or even soy milk are popularalternatives for those who find dairy causes a problem.
It can be a case of trial and error. You may find that some hard cheeses like cheddar cause a problem, but you can have feta or brie. Listen to your gut and make a list of all the foods that are the most problematic. Creamy cheese is considered the worst for IBS sufferers, as they can release more of the lactose into the body.
IBS or an Allergy?
Something that you will need to consider is whether you have an allergy. You may believe that you have IBS at first since you eat the foods mentioned above and have an issue with your digestive system. However, some symptoms mimic some allergies.
Gluten, wheat, and dairy allergies are the most common issues that mimic some of the IBS symptoms. You can usually test this by cutting out certain foods from your diet that you think are the problem. Your doctor will also help you determine if you have an allergy rather than just IBS.
You will want to make sure you get an official diagnosis. With this, you can be recommended onto a dietician who will help to work out a meal plan and offer advice on foods to avoid. There are certain foods that you may not even think have the ingredients you’re allergic too. For example, did you know that sausages contain gluten?
Putting Your Digestive System First
It can be annoying. IBS sufferers should change their whole lifestyle to make sure they avoid the painful and debilitating symptoms. You’ll have to think about the types of foods you eat daily. If you’re out for meals with friends, it can take longer to choose something from a menu, or you just should hope that it doesn’t cause a problem for your diet.
Your symptoms may get worse as you get older. Your digestive system will become more sensitive to the foods as time goes on. If you have an allergy, your symptoms will be even worse.
Make sure you put your digestive system first. This is the home to 80% of your immune system. If it’s constantly fighting against IBS, the rest of your health will be negatively affected. It’s annoying, but avoiding the foods will be worth it in the end.