Diet is a daily consideration for people with IBS, but there are more options for people with dietary restrictions now more than ever. Whether you’re trying to limit gluten, dairy, added sugar or any other trigger or irritant, there’s a plan for you.
Here’s a guide to what foods you may want to look out for when considering a change in diet.
Foods to Buy
- Omega-3s. These essential fatty acids are great for your whole body, especially if you have irritable bowel syndrome because they’re a natural anti-inflammatory. Get your omega-3s in salmon, mackerel, sardines, or nutritional supplements. Some nuts are high in the fatty acids, but nuts are sometimes restricted for people with IBS.
- Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in the blood stream, helping to relieve constipation as well as improve cholesterol levels. You can find it in dried beans, legumes, oats, barley, and certain fruits, like berries or citrus fruits.
- Most vegetables. Veggies like zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach, beets, tomatoes, carrots, and more are tasty, fresh options that pack a nutritional punch. However, not all veggies are ideal for people with IBS, but we’ll get to that later.
- Herbs and spices. Put these on your shopping list to add flavor without fat or calories to any of your favorite foods. Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, mint, and lemongrass are all great options. Ginger can be really soothing for gastrointestinal discomfort, but some may find it irritating. If you’ve never had fresh ginger root, try just a little bit to see how you react.
- Lactose-free milk. Many people with IBS find that lactose is hard to digest, so instead try milk made of soy, oat, or rice.
Foods to Avoid
- Cruciferous vegetables. Even people without gastrointestinal issues find that veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts tend to cause gas. For people with IBS, this can be downright distressful.
- Dairy. You may love cheese, but your gastrointestinal system does not. However, hard cheeses, as well as brie and camembert can be tolerable for some people with IBS.
- Artificial sweeteners. Most sweeteners ending in –ol, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, can cause uncomfortable gas. Instead choose natural sweeteners in moderation.
- Your triggers. These are going to vary from person to person, so keep close tabs on the foods that lead to discomfort or flare-ups. It often helps to keep a food diary, and you can even try a process of elimination by cutting out suspected triggers for a period of time to see if symptoms subside.
As always, the best diet plan is one you and your doctor come up with. These are general guidelines and not strict directives.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with a specialist and we'll find a diet plan that best suits your lifestyle!