Navigating IBS with Nutritional Strategies - Britt's Superfoods

Navigating IBS with Nutritional Strategies

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) manifests as a spectrum of digestive disturbances, including abdominal discomfort, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. It is estimated that around 1 in 5 adults in the UK are thought to have IBS, and the actual number may be even higher as not everyone seeks medical advice for their symptoms. Interestingly, women are more likely than men to have IBS. While IBS can develop at any age, it’s most common for symptoms to start in one’s 20s or 30s. Although IBS eludes a definitive cure, strategic dietary modifications can substantially mitigate its symptoms.

What foods to avoid for IBS

Embrace the Joy of Home-Cooking - Preparing meals from scratch with unprocessed ingredients minimises the risk of ingesting IBS-aggravating substances.

The Power of Soluble Fibre - Integrating soluble fibre sources such as oats, wheatgrass, and flaxseeds into the diet can normalise bowel irregularities characteristic of IBS.

Hydration - Consistent fluid consumption, particularly water, is crucial for maintaining digestive regularity and averting dehydration, a common concern during diarrhoeal episodes.

Probiotics - Introducing probiotics may foster a more favourable gut microbiota composition, potentially improving IBS symptomatology.

Avoid Trigger Foods - Curtailing the intake of foods high in fats, spices, or artificial sweeteners like sorbitol is advisable to prevent exacerbation of IBS symptoms.

The Low-FODMAP Regimen - FODMAP foods are groups of short-chain carbohydrates that are not well-absorbed in the small intestine, then journey to the colon, where they produce gas and contribute to digestive discomfort.

Common sources of FODMAPs include:

Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and ice cream

Fruits such as apples, cherries, pears, and peaches

Wheat-based staples such as cereal, bread, and crackers

Legumes including beans and lentils

Certain vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, onions, and garlic

Diminishing the consumption of high-FODMAP foods may lead to symptomatic improvement for numerous individuals with IBS.

Personalising Your Diet

It’s imperative to recognise that dietary responses vary from person to person; hence, these guidelines should be adapted to suit individual circumstances. Consulting a healthcare professional for tailored advice is recommended. Sharing insights on this topic through a blog can enlighten and assist others grappling with IBS.

How to Ease Bloating, Cramps and Gas

Eat oats (such as porridge) regularly

Eat up to 1 tablespoon of linseeds (whole or ground) a day

Avoid foods that are hard to digest (like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, beans, onions and dried fruit)

Avoid products containing a sweetener called sorbitol

Ask a pharmacist about medicines that can help, like Buscopan or peppermint oil

The Link Between Stress and IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome has long been connected to our mental wellbeing with stress being a well-known trigger. Stress and major life traumas are known to worsen IBS symptoms. Many people experience spikes in their stress levels just before they start getting IBS symptoms. In fact, some researchers argue that it’s nearly impossible to improve IBS without first addressing stress. Walking, running, swimming, and other physical activities can reduce stress and depression. They also stop your bowels from overreacting and contracting. Mind-body exercises. Meditation, relaxation breathing, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong can all trigger your body's relaxation response.

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