Irritable Bowel: What Type Of Food Is Best For You?

Irritable Bowel: What Type Of Food Is Best For You?

From Muhammad Qasim Butt

Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder that affects 10-15% of the population and increasingly younger people. To control it, one of the keys is adequate nutrition.

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Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder that affects 10-15% of the population and increasingly younger people. To control it, one of the keys is adequate nutrition.

Abdominal pain, gas, abdominal bloating, constant and chronic intestinal disorders: diarrhea and/or constipation. All these symptoms mean that at some moments in your life, you may feel unsafe to continue with a normal life.

Controlling your diet, that is, the foods you consume is a great help to avoid outbreaks, discomfort, and pain, and to ensure that you can carry out daily tasks in a calmer way. Now, each person is a specific case and, normally, your response to certain foods may change over time. Not all people tolerate the same foods in the same way.

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are multiple (and in many cases unknown), so foods that may be good for someone else may not work for you.

As indicated by the Spanish Federation of the Digestive System (FEAD) “the objectives of nutritional treatment are to ensure adequate intake of nutrients, individualize the diet according to the specific gastrointestinal pattern of IBS and explain the possible influence of food in the treatment of symptoms.”

The diet of the person with an irritable colon must be personalized to each case, individualizing it according to the gastrointestinal pattern of the IBS. For this reason, you must be patient that you observe how your body reacts to each of them and that you can choose the ones that best suit you, since whether your symptoms improve or worsen will largely depend on this.

Now, you must keep in mind that certain products are associated with more gas and abdominal distension, as well as abdominal discomfort. In case you need help from the specialist you can hire Granite Peaks Gastroenterology.

Below, we leave you some generic guidelines that are known to work in most cases and can help you:

Prohibited Foods For Irritable Bowel       

Due to their characteristics, the “black list” of prohibited foods for irritable bowel syndrome includes:

  • Foods rich in fat: (precooked, fried, industrial pastries, sausages, pizzas, sauces, etc.) due to their difficulty in digestion and the acidity they cause. Try to do without them and if you take them, do so occasionally and in small quantities.

  • Spicy foods or spices: You should do without them. They are very irritating and can cause gastritis or stomach ulcers that would worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Chocolate: chocolate produces constipation and promotes relaxation of the sphincter of the esophagus, which allows stomach contents to travel upwards and cause a feeling of acidity, which is not positive for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Coffee and alcohol. Both are intestinal stimulants. Its consumption is not recommended because its irritating effect on the intestine would worsen diarrhea, enhancing this symptom of irritable bowel, which is not recommended in people who suffer from IBS-D.

  • Flatulent vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, onion.

  • Carbonated drinks and especially energy drinks. Completely dispense with them. They contain many ingredients that are not good for you at all: sugars and/or artificial sweeteners, colorings, preservatives, and above all a lot of gas.

Foods That Should Be Valued And Limited

Other types of foods can be better or worse depending on our degree of tolerance and the severity of the irritable bowel symptoms. Do not decide to eliminate them on your own, consult your doctor or dietician first to advise you on the diet that best suits you.

Wheat, rye, barley, onion, and garlic, are some of the foods that are suspected to be behind this alteration.

  • Nuts: The most advisable are walnuts or almonds, but others such as pistachios, peanuts, or cashews are not highly recommended as they are rich in fat.

  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, beans,... These foods are very good for their fiber and protein content, but they are very bad for the gases they generate, so you should be careful not to include them frequently or abundantly in your diet.

  • Milk: In general, patients with irritable bowel syndrome have lactose intolerance, so it is important to avoid it, especially in cases of diarrhea. Lactose is a carbohydrate that is poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can also promote the appearance of gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, just what these people do not need. But, it is important to use other sources of calcium to avoid other diseases, such as low-fat yogurt.

  • Vegetables: It is advisable to moderate the consumption of vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, garlic, onions, asparagus, escarole, peppers, leeks, beets, mushrooms... in case of flatulence. These types of vegetables tend to generate gas, but not to everyone equally, so there are people who can consume them moderately while other people are completely prohibited from eating them.

Recommended Foods For Irritable Colon

Those that we should include in an irritable bowel diet due to their beneficial properties when it comes to managing symptoms.

  • Eggs, lean and unprocessed meat, fish. Cooking in the oven, grilled or stewed is the most recommended in case of constipation.

  • Fruit. The most recommended due to their richness in soluble fiber are apples, pear, bananas, nectarine, apricots, mango, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, and papaya.

  • Cereals such as corn, buckwheat, millet, white quinoa, or rice (this would be counterproductive in IBS-C cases).

  • Vegetables: carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, chayote, endives, chard, thistle, green beans,…

Legumes: Peas, Soybeans And Lentils

  • Lactose-free dairy and vegetable drinks. Instead of drinking dairy products, opt for vegetable drinks (almond, oatmeal, rice, soy, quinoa...) or choose lactose-free dairy products. Better if they are enriched in calcium.

  • Seeds: sesame, chia, flaxseed.

We hope that these tips help you control your diet and thus improve your quality of life.

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