It is easy to let IBS take control of your life because it makes eating any food an uncertain exercise. Sometimes a meal does not trigger IBS symptoms. On the other hand, eating the identical meal a week later may trigger IBS symptoms because you are experiencing stress or there is a temporary hormone imbalance. It is difficult to predict when IBS will strike, but there are certain foods that have been identified as having a potential impact on the digestive system. Since IBS is a disorder of the digestive system, it is only natural that managing the diet is one approach to managing IBS.
Since the most common IBS symptoms are constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas, there is a two-pronged dietary approach to controlling IBS. On the one hand, you want to avoid those foods most likely to trigger the symptoms. On the other hand, it is necessary to add the foods to the diet that will supply essential nutrients, while also easing IBS symptoms.
The general categories of food to avoid include greasy or fatty foods, spicy foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, wheat, dairy products, citrus fruit, and certain vegetables that cause gas and bloating. These foods are known to cause intestinal convulsions, produce gas, be difficult to digest, or are known to have substances that are difficult to digest. In some instances, it may be a lactose intolerance or a reaction to the gluten protein in wheat that is causing symptoms like diarrhea and gas. Within each of these food categories there are specific foods that will need to be avoided, depending on the specific symptoms experienced. People with IBS should avoid alcohol and coffee also.
Once you know which foods should be eliminated from the IBS diet, the second phase is to add foods that promote good health. Once again, your symptoms will dictate what you can eat and what needs to be avoided. High fiber fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are often recommended. However, if you have diarrhea, it is wise to avoid eating too much fiber, but it is important to add foods that alleviate diarrhea.
People with IBS should avoid eating large meals because they stress the digestive system by encouraging stronger intestinal contractions. You can eat small meals throughout the day, while staying alert to eating habits that seem to prompt Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. For example, you will learn how large a serving of any food containing wheat you can eat before IBS symptoms are triggered. It may be you cannot eat any dairy products, or you might be able to eat low fat dairy products a couple of times a week.
One of the most important aspects of the IBS diet is its variableness. People with IBS must become very aware of the relationship between their lifestyle and IBS symptoms. You may discover that it is best to eat the largest meal in the morning to encourage intestinal contractions. You will learn what foods should be avoided at all costs on the days when you experiencing bloating and gas. When you are experiencing a period of high anxiety or stress, even a little grease can affect digestion. What aggravates your system may not bother another person, so it is personal awareness that counts.
Learning the specific types of foods that can prompt IBS symptoms and those that are safe to eat is critical. The book IBS Miracle™ – How To Free Your Life From Irritable Bowel Syndrome devotes a large section to the discussion of foods, so that you can begin to develop a diet that keeps you healthy instead of making you sick. It is distressing when the very substances meant to keep us alive are the same things disrupting the digestive process. It is possible to take control of your health one food item at a time when you have IBS.