6 Types of Food to Avoid When Dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal illness. The health condition causes various abdominal symptoms, including bloating, diarrhoea, cramps, constipation and irregular stool. Symptoms vary among individuals and come in different combinations. The intestinal condition does not make you more susceptible to other gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. Causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unclear, but experts postulate that it's due to irregular movements of the bowel.

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Rather than the steady rhythmic motions that the bowel requires in the normal state, it spasms if you have irritable bowel syndrome. A hypersensitive colon is one factor that might contribute to this phenomenon. Although no definitive tests exist for the condition, a doctor will consider the symptoms to see if they amount to irritable bowel syndrome.

The Effects on Quality of Life

Irritable bowel syndrome is not life-threatening, but it can make your life unpleasant. Abdominal discomfort can interfere with your daily activities. In instances when the symptoms get serious, you may have to stay home, meaning loss of wages. Some people may find that the condition hinders sexual activities. Stress is one factor that is known to exacerbate symptoms, but the food is the most common trigger. Knowing which foods are good for your stomach and bowel is important if you suffer from this condition. Here are some to watch out for.

1. Insoluble Fibres

Fibre is a critical part of the diet for a person living with irritable bowel syndrome. It adds weight to food and helps with digestion. However, you should be aware of the good and bad fibre that might affect your nutrition. Insoluble fibres alter the stool of some people. Even though it reduces constipation, it can induce bloating. Soluble fibres give your diet the nutritional value it requires without triggering certain symptoms. Some soluble fibres to try include legumes, root vegetables, grains and fruits.

2. Dairy

Milk, cheese and butter are some of the dairy products that may trigger your IBS symptoms. One reason dairy should not be part of your diet is the fat content. Foods with too much fat increase the severity of diarrhoea and may even trigger it. Another is that most individuals who have irritable bowel syndrome are lactose intolerant. Eating dairy would, therefore, cause more complications. Alternatives to dairy are readily available such as soy. However, people who don't take milk should be careful not to develop a calcium deficiency.

3. Caffeinated Drinks

Your caffeine intake can trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, so watch the beverages you take. Caffeine has been known to move the bowels in some people, and this might lead to diarrhoea. For this reason, you have to slash the quantity of caffeine entering your system. Have a cup of tea or coffee once in a while if you must. Some drinks contain sweeteners like mannitol, sorbitol and isomalt, which cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Alcohol is another drink that can trigger and aggravate the symptoms.

4. Gluten

Fibre is essential in the diet, but when suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, you must be cautious about taking gluten. Individuals who have celiac disease cannot eat gluten because it causes an attack on the small intestine by the immune system, which can be problematic. Even persons without gluten intolerance might have trouble digesting the protein. Wheat, barley and rye are some of the foods that contain gluten, so you might want to stay away from baked goods and pasta.

5. Greasy Foods

High-fat content foods should be avoided at all costs. The excess fat can lead to stronger intestinal contractions, causing abdominal discomfort. Greasy foods like fries, pizza and fried chicken can have adverse effects for a person with irritable bowel syndrome. Choose grilled rather than fried foods. Not that you should cut fats out of your diets altogether; just reduce it.

6. High FODMAP Fruits and Vegetables

FODMAP refers to several short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest. Due to fermentation, foods high in FODMAP content are not suitable for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Fruits such as apples, watermelon and mangoes are high in FODMAPs. For vegetables, mushrooms, artichokes and cauliflower are the types to avoid. Some fruits and vegetables may be easier to digest when cooked. 

Keeping track of which foods cause flare-ups of your IBS symptoms is vital to creating the ideal diet for you.   

How to Not Go Hungry

It’s true that there’s a lot of food you have to avoid when on the low FODMAP diet. You may be wondering, what is it that I actually can eat? While there are plenty of things that you can eat, snacking tends to be the most difficult. Some popular snacks options include Rice cakes, overnight oats, mini egg muffins, salads, and low FODMAP protein bars. 

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