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Foods to avoid if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) during a flare-up

Reduce your intake of these IBS trigger foods to reduce symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term. Constipation, gas, bloating, and diarrhoea are likely to flare up from time to time because your gut reacts hypersensitively to meals that are difficult for it to process.

At first, the symptoms could seem erratic, and you might have anxiety before meals. Because of this, becoming aware of the foods that cause IBS symptoms in you might help you make decisions about what to eat to improve your mood and lessen discomfort. But keep in mind that no two people are same. Foods that cause IBS in one person may not in another; finding out what works and what doesn’t requires trial and error.

There are trigger foods known to stimulate the gut, including dietary fiber,” says Dr. Shyamala Vishnumohan, Doctor of Food and Nutrition Science (Ph.D.), Certified Prenatal Dietitian, and Real Food Advocate. “These include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. You may experience discomfort if you’re prone to IBS symptoms like diarrhea.”

Don’t completely eliminate fibre, though, as it is crucial for intestinal health. The key is to reduce the amount of fibre that your body finds challenging to digest. There are two types of fibre: soluble fibre, which dissolves in water, and insoluble fibre, which doesn’t, according to the CDC (opens in new tab). Due to an abundance of fluid in the gut, insoluble fibre frequently causes flare-ups of IBS.

How then do you distinguish between them? Specific fruits and vegetables, like parsnips, potatoes, and celery, are examples of insoluble fibre. Additionally, it is present in grains like rye, barley, and wheat. It’s important to keep track of the sources of fibre you can have.

Although they are excellent providers of fibre and protein, beans and other legumes can cause IBS symptoms. This is as a result of the oligosaccharides they contain.

Dr. Vishnumohan explains: “They tend to receive a wonderful reception from our hungry resident gut bacteria, resulting in rapid fermentation. The process of fermentation promotes the production of advantageous short-chain fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining intestinal health. However, excessive gas produced by fermentation can stretch the intestine and send pain signals to those who have IBS.

Consider soaking beans the night before cooking them to improve digestion and gain health advantages. Dairy products frequently cause IBS symptoms. This is due to the fact that they contain lactose, which the gut has a hard time digesting.

“Think lactose from dairy products like milk, soft cheese like ricotta, cottage cheese, or ice cream,” says Dr. Vishnumohan.

The good news is that some dairy products have lower lactose content than others, so you might be able to tolerate them better. Examples include mozzarella and parmesan. You can still enjoy dairy products because there are excellent plant-based dairy substitutes.

The symptoms of IBS are primarily caused by fatty, processed foods. French fries and prepared meals are included in this. These foods have few nutritional benefits, making them empty calories. According to the CDC, eating processed meals increases the chance of developing diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Your general health will improve if you cut back.

“If you’re eating at restaurants and relying on food delivery apps, it’s very hard to know exactly what is in your food,” says Dr. Vishnumohan. “You might be eating fatty or greasy foods and triggering ingredients that could aggravate your IBS symptoms.”

If you have been diagnosed with IBS, you do not have to stop getting treatments. Consider simulating your favourite dish so you can understand what’s on your plate. A low FODMAP diet can help you find the items that cause your IBS when you are diagnosed with the condition. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
The FODMAP content of hundreds of fruits and vegetables was examined in research published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. You could discover that blueberries, lettuce, and spinach are simpler to digest because they all have low levels of FODMAPs. Try cooking fruit and vegetables if you want to improve your tolerance for them.

The health of the gut is benefited by soluble fibre, which is frequently easier to digest. Eat things like carrots and oats to fill up your plate. Choosing lean, high-protein foods is also a wise move. Eggs, fish, and chicken are a few of them. Your intestines can easily accept protein, which is essential for development and repair.

Your symptoms are also impacted by what you eat. Practice attentive eating and take your time. Small meals might make digestion easier. Although there are several foods that frequently cause IBS symptoms, each person’s symptoms are very unique, so it’s important to focus on what works for you.

Foods to avoid if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) during a flare-up

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