Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a serious health condition that causes persistent abdominal pains and constipation. However, there are some foods to avoid with IBS.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects your digestive system. It is a group of intestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, cramps, constipation, inflammation, and sometimes diarrhoea.
IBS is a kind of gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. It is caused when the gut and brain have a problem interacting and syncing together. This leads to a problem in how both work together. The result is a sensitive digestive system and inflammatory bowel movements. The most effective way to treat it is a balanced diet. We have come up with the foods to avoid with IBS.
Causes of IBS
There are various reasons a person can suffer from IBS.
- One of them is the hypersensitive colon (the longest part of the intestine) or immune system. Instead of steady, rhythmic bowel muscle movements, the muscles jerk. This can give rise to diarrhea or constipation.
- Another study recommends that the chemicals like serotonin and gastrin have an impact on the nerve signals between the brain and digestive system. They can affect the movement in the colon and hence, bowel movements.
- Lastly, there are certain bacteria present in our intestine that can lead to this condition.
Diet and IBS
What you eat has a bigger role to play in treating any condition. A healthy and balanced diet can go a long way in easing IBS pain. However, the symptoms of IBS may vary and hence, the dietary changes may differ. But there are certain foods to avoid with IBS. We have curated a list of them.
Here are foods to avoid with IBS:
1. Fried Foods
Eating too much fatty and fried food like fries, etc aggravates IBS. This is a proven fact that excessive fat consumption leads to problems like bloating, nausea, and acid reflux. It could be hard on the digestive system for people with IBS. As fried food is more difficult to digest.
It is advised to avoid oily fatty foods. Instead try consuming mono- and polyunsaturated fat such as nuts, chicken, seeds, olive oil, etc. Unsaturated fats are a good kind of fats that improves blood circulation and lowers the risk of heart attacks. Another healthy option is baking and grilling your dearest foods.
Gluten is among the top foods to avoid with IBS. It is a protein present in foods containing grains such as wheat, barley, etc. Gluten is found in a lot of the foods that we consume daily. They include most cereals, bread, and bakery items. People with IBS may have an immune reaction to gluten, called celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is a condition which affects the intestine, causing malabsorption of nutrients. It results in inflammation , bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Doctors advise you to have a gluten-free diet if you suffer from IBS. There are various nutritious substitutes for gluten such as oats, buckwheat, etc present on the market today. You don’t need to worry about missing out on your favourite food.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can trigger IBS as they are high in sugar and fat. Those sweeteners with compounds such as fructose and sucrose have a negative impact on our gut and overall health. Foods such as corn syrup, maple syrup, etc contain these sugars and hence, should be avoided.
These sweeteners can provoke conditions like diarrhoea, flatulence (excessive gas), and bloating. The symptoms can worsen if you are suffering from IBS. As your intestine can not absorb these high fatty sugar contents.
4. Beans & Legumes
Beans, lentils, and related legumes such as peas and chickpeas are all pulses. They are a great source of protein as well as fibers. But these pulses can also contribute to making IBS worse. They have indigestible carbohydrates known as saccharides that give rise to gas and bloating. This compound is resistant to absorption by intestinal enzymes.
This doesn’t mean they can’t have them. But they can limit the amount in their diet and try to consume fibers from other sources.
A great flavouring agent garlic can be difficult to digest for with those having IBS. The reason behind it is that garlic contains fructose. And fructose comes under the FODMAP category. They are a bunch of short-chain carbohydrates that can be hard to digest. Foods high in FODMAP can be tricky for IBS.
Thus, it is advised not to eat foods containing high garlic content. Otherwise the affected person will experience a lot of painful cramps and gas in the abdomen.
Foods that are low in FODMAP and good for IBS are:
- Fruits: bananas, grapes, oranges, kiwi, pineapples
- Vegetables: carrots, kale, pumpkin, spinach, potato
- Eggs, fish & other meats
- Quinoa, millet, and rice
What to do in IBS other than diet?
As mentioned, these are the foods to avoid with IBS. Besides food control, there are a few lifestyle changes that you can do. These include:
- Doing regular exercises
- Having smaller meals
- Consuming probiotics (good bacteria needed for the intestine to function)
- Consult a doctor if you experience severe symptoms