The Association Between Foods And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Let’s take a look at some of the foods that induce IBS symptoms, or foods that cause related bowel symptoms:

Fatty food items: A person who has IBS should reduce their fat intake to about 25% maximum.

Caffeinated drinks: Even decaffeinated coffee drinks contain substances that can cause irritation to your gut. Caffeinated drinks also stimulate the intestine to contract, so that can really exacerbate symptoms.

Milk and Cheese Products: Most people lose an enzyme called lactase as they age. This enzyme helps break down lactose, which is present in milk and cheese products. When you get symptoms after eating these products, you may be “lactose intolerant”. This is not IBS, but rather a very treatable condition which is simply treated by avoiding these foods.

Gluten Allergy: Some people develop a condition where your body literally treats gluten (a protein) as a foreign substance to which you develop and antibody response allergy. The problem is that this literally destroys the lining of your intestine and, in the process of mass destruction, causes IBS like symptoms. The condition is called Celiac disease and is treated by simply avoiding foods containing gluten. You can get a blood test for this, but beware. If this test is negative, it may be a false negative….which means you actually HAVE the disease but the test was negative. So, if unsure, just cut gluten out of the diet.

Just like there are foods which promote symptoms, there are nutrient types which may reduce Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms:

Fiber rich food: Eating food which is fiber rich will help in digestion. In some people, it can stimulate the bowel and cause symptoms, but soluble fiber works well as a stabilizer preventing both constipation and diarrhea in the long run. Insoluble fiber, which is healthy and present in fruits and veggies, is good for you but is more likely to cause IBS symptoms. This is something you have to balance in your lifestyle because you need the nutrients in fruits and veggies. Sometimes soluble fiber can balance the symptom inducing effect of insoluble fiber. IF you can’t tolerate them, please remember to consider a better supplementation program.

Probiotics: Although not a food per se, just as an intro to the fact that there are supplementation strategies to add to your basic diet plan, sometimes you can get overgrowth of “bad bacteria” in your intestine which overwhelm the “good bacteria”. Good bacteria are CRITICAL to good digestion and when this imbalance occurs, as it possibly can after a lot of antibiotics, you can end up with something that may be IBS. In some cases you actually need to kill the offending “bad bacteria” first with another antibiotic, but then regaining good balance using probiotics is a good strategy. Work with you doctor on determining if you have a “bad bacteria” overgrowth as this can be VERY serious and can even kill. So, be proactive, but don’t forget that there are aspects of mainstream medicine that you still need to work with to get you out of the woods.

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Usual Diets For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

People who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome should take a self-inventory and list out the things that they eat. This is a great start, but simply taking inventory is not enough. You should also consider the methods by which food has been prepared.

First, in order to make a list of food you eat, create a log book in a notepad on your computer. You should add particular terms that qualify your log entry, such as where you get the food and how you prepare it. So along with say ‘Fried Rice’, you should not only add that to the list, but also add how it had been prepared, what you may have combined it with etc. Moreover you also need to note the timing of eating your food (both when you eat and how fast you eat) and also your mood at the time of eating a specific food.

The list you make should be part of a daily routine and you need to check it regularly, especially when you are first creating it and adding new items to it. The most suitable time is at the night, at which you can collect a detailed list of the whole day. Each explanation is quite essential and should be given care. Every little item, even a chocolate that you had, needs to be recorded.

The foods that may induce your appetite or for which you have a craving, can be avoided by setting a common diet. Once you have this list, share it with your health care practitioners. You personal dietician or doctor will help you in charting a suitable diet plan for you, based upon the list you have made about the food that you eat. This will vary with your symptoms. Again, some foods may need to be cut out. Some may need to be added. For example, if you have constipation, then the most important food that you need to include in your diet is fiber rich food which will reduce this constipation.

The feces should bulk up if you add fiber rich content in your diet. Thus the best way of fighting with the symptom,’constipation’, is to add fiber rich fruits like orange, banana etc. The fiber works by adding volume to the stools.

The foods that increase your symptoms should be systematically removed one by one. In general, the foods that induces the syndrome are actually those that are rich in fat as this slows down the digestion of other foods. But in your case, it may be different. In the long run it is all about balance and not absolutes, but you first have to figure out how YOUR body responds to the foods you eat.

While carrying out or implementing this diet chart for Irritable Bowl Syndrome the first and foremost thing to do is check whether you are taking regular meals at the proper time. This “proper” time may vary from individual to individual. You will have to experiment.

If the symptom of diarrhea predominates in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the most beneficial diet chart may include small meals at multiple regular intervals. However when you have diarrhea the symptom is mainly watery stools. You can lose a LOT of water. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice to check out the amount of water that you should be taking based on your body size, the amount of exercise you engage in, the climate you live in etc.

Generally the amount of water or fluid intake should be high. The classic recommendation is 6-8 glasses of WATER every day. Again, this may vary by individual. On the other hand, caffeinated drinks, alcohol based beverages, carbonated soda etc. should be avoided. Carbonated sodas produce gas, thereby resulting in a bloated belly, while caffeine may cause diarrhea and stimluate the intestine which worsens the condition further.

Irregular Bowel Syndrome may also be due to dairy products like cheese, mayonnaise etc. As you get older, lactose is not metabolized well and may lead to IBS. If you are not tolerant of lactose, then switch over to lactose free yogurts instead of pure milk which will provide you the same protein. Alternatively, you can also use an enzyme supplement to help in breaking down lactose.

In the end, everyone is different. The “syndrome” may have different causes in different people. You need to take a personal inventory and decide what needs to be done based on this information. For best results, work with a health care practitioner who knows and understands you and your personal needs.

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