Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be identified by the sudden changes in bowel movement, which is characterized either as diarrhea, constipation, or both. This is accompanied by abdominal cramps and pain, and the symptoms can also interfere with daily activities if severe. Though IBS cannot be cured, medicines and certain diets are known to relieve the symptoms and aid in healthy living. Here are some diet options for IBS patients to alleviate the symptoms:
1. Fiber-rich diet
Eating fibrous food assists in bowel movement. According to a study, an average adult must eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day through foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which help prevent constipation and are also nutritious. However, one of the important diet tips for IBS to keep in mind is to reduce fiber intake if there is bloating.
2. Soluble-fiber diet
Fiber present in foods like vegetables and fruits dissolves in water and helps relieve the symptoms of IBS. Foods like apples, carrots, berries, and oatmeal are helpful for people who have gas and diarrhea.
3. Low-fat diet
A diet low in fats means lower intake of fried foods and red meat, which not only improves bowel movement but is also healthy for the heart. Regular consumption of fatty foods can worsen IBS and lead to severe constipation as these foods are generally low in fiber. A helpful diet tip for IBS patients is to include lean meats, vegetables, grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy products in their diet.
4. Low-FODMAP diet
Certain carbohydrates are difficult to digest and cause constipation, but all carbohydrates are not bad and should not be eliminated from the diet. The harmful carbohydrates retain water in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea, so a diet for IBS patients should leave out foods with lactose, wheat-based bread, pistachios and cashews, certain fruits like peaches and watermelon, some vegetables like artichokes, onions, and legumes, and sweeteners.
5. Elimination diet
This diet focuses on eliminating specific foods for some time and slowly reintroducing them to determine whether there is any relief from the symptoms. One of the most common diet tips for IBS patients is to take up this diet and eliminate chocolate, nuts, coffee, and insoluble fiber.
Here are a few points to remember apart from the above-mentioned diet tip for IBS:
- Keep track of the IBS triggers and avoid them
- Increase fiber intake by a few grams per day till it reaches 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men
- Drink lots of water and get adequate exercise
- Consume a moderate amount of foods that are a substitute for sugar (sorbitol) like prunes and its juice and dried plums
- Eat frequent meals with smaller portions instead of having three large meals in a day
- Avoid eating too quickly without proper chewing and avoid distractions while eating
- Consult a dietician