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There seems to be a lot of disagreement about the best foods for IBS. The one consistent piece of advice is to eat foods containing soluble fibre.

Why is soluble fiber important? Because, when you eat it first, at the beginning of your meal, it “pre-conditions” the bowel by forming a kind of thick gel that bulks up in the intestines, giving them something to work with. This will slow down your transit time if you’re prone to diarrhea, or help to move things along if you suffer from constipation.

HOWEVER! You need to be a bit careful about your sources of soluble fiber. I’ve read nutritionists who recommend legumes such as kidney beans, soy beans, chick peas, etc. as a good source of soluble fiber for people with IBS. I find this a bit strange, as we all know that legumes are notorious “fart foods” and are hard to digest even for people who don’t have digestive problems.

Legumes contain a sugar called raffinose. It’s the same sugar that’s in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, which is why they are hard for IBS people to eat. To be digested, raffinose requires a specific enzyme not made by the human body.

Biochemist Robb Wolf of Paleo fame, says that legumes can damage the intestinal wall just as grains and gluten do. When food molecules get through your intestine and into your bloodstream, your body mounts an attack on them which provokes auto-immune conditions such as allergies, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other health problems. Apparently, legumes also block the absorption of several vitamins and minerals.

Not so good.

I also see yogurt being touted as a good food for IBS because of the supposed probiotic effect. However, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who developed the GAPS diet and has helped thousands of patients heal from digestive problems, says that store-bought yogurt is not cultured long enough to create the kind of probiotics that actually do anything useful in your gut.

Her recommendation is to make your own yogurt, preferably from organic milk. Fermenting milk into yogurt makes it into a live food (whereas pasteurized milk is a dead food, having been heated to the point where all the enzymes that would help you digest it have been killed.)

One more caveat before we get to the list of best foods for IBS.

Even though the foods listed below are typically good for people with IBS, some of them might not agree with YOU. If you have food allergies or sensitivities, you need to take that into consideration.

10 of the Best Foods for IBS:

1) Bananas. A standby for many people with IBS.

2) Peeled apples – Caution: if you have trouble with fructose or other sweeteners, apples may not be for you.

3) White rice. Although brown rice is considered nutritionally better than white rice, it contains insoluble fiber which can be a problem for people with diarrhea.

4) Squash and Pumpkin. Organic squash makes a great dessert! Sprinkle it with cinnamon before baking. If you tolerate olive oil, you can rub the flesh of the squash with a bit of oil before sprinkling on the cinnamon.

5) Carrots and Parsnips. Try them boiled until soft then mashed together.

6) Lean Protein. Protein is a vital nutrient. Try skinless chicken, or white fish such as sole. Flavour with herbs such as ground rosemary and marjoram, lemon, a touch of sea salt.

Why does it have to be lean?

The fat attached to protein stimulates the production of a hormone called cholecystokin. This hormone makes the bowel go into contractions, so if you’re prone to diarrhea, that will speed things up even more. If you have constipation, you might be okay, OR this may be a source of abdominal cramps for you. So lean proteins are the safer choice.

7) Chestnuts. Cut a line or an X in the shells (to keep them from bursting), then put them on a cookie pan and roast them in the oven at 425F for between 10 and 30 minutes depending on how well-cooked you like them (more cooked tends to be a bit drier.) Stir them around or shake the pan every so often to make sure they don't burn on one side.

8) Oatmeal. Try it with banana cooked into it and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You won’t need additional sweeteners.

9) Sweet Potatoes. Good source of antioxidants, Vitamin A, beta carotene, B vitamins, and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc.

10) Beets. Good for cardiovascular health.

With the exception of the lean proteins, all the foods on this list are sources of soluble fiber, so remember to eat them at the beginning of your meal. You may find that, once the soluble fiber is in your gut, you may be able to eat salad at the end of the meal. But proceed with caution if you are prone to diarrhea.

That’s our list of the best foods for IBS. Please leave a comment about the foods that work best for you.

 

More help for IBS:

Hi. We are Karen Alison and Kathy Raymond and we help people self-heal their IBS naturally, with a doctor-recommended method that addresses the least-recognized aspect of this hellish condition – the way the brain triggers uncontrollable symptoms in the gut.

IBS is a lot like having PTSD (also once believed to be untreatable) because of the way it triggers your autonomic nervous system to produce symptoms. But, in a few short sessions, you can learn how to retrain your brain so you shut down the neural pathways that lead straight to diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, and anxiety.

If you don’t deal with this underlying root cause of your problem, you’ll have to spend the rest of your life at the mercy of your Irritable Bowel… and it usually gets worse.

But you can make it stop NOW. Just click on this link for more information and follow the instructions to access the program.

 

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Comments (24)

  1. Cheryl

Thanks Ladies, this list is great. I will try and eat one of these b4 my meal and see if there is a difference. I will certainly try salad again.

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  1. Nick Pokoluk

Wow - not a really appealing diet. Peraonally I feel, after over 10 years of research and testing, there are really few trigger foods. I have IBS-D. Every day is a difficult but food makes little difference. Visceral hypersensitivity and...

Wow - not a really appealing diet. Peraonally I feel, after over 10 years of research and testing, there are really few trigger foods. I have IBS-D. Every day is a difficult but food makes little difference. Visceral hypersensitivity and emotional stress is commom with IBS, and I feel is sctive in over 75% of IBSers. Visceral hypersensivity with its overactive pelvic floor action is a big problem in our condition.

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Thanks for your comment, Nick. Kathy and I agree with you about emotional stress contributing to visceral hypersensitivity, which is why we're big advocates of tapping to relieve stress and trauma. (And why we developed the No IBS Program.) But,...

Thanks for your comment, Nick. Kathy and I agree with you about emotional stress contributing to visceral hypersensitivity, which is why we're big advocates of tapping to relieve stress and trauma. (And why we developed the No IBS Program.) But, frankly, it's often hard to get people on board with this. I've worked with people who can pretty much eat whatever they want once they get their stress and trauma triggers under control, but it can be challenging for them to do that and involves a high level of emotional commitment to themselves.
PubMed shows an increasing number of medical studies that link stress and trauma to IBS, so it would seem obvious that the way to treat (most) chronic IBS would be by addressing those two factors, rather than searching for the "perfect" diet (doesn't exist.)
BTW, I'm not saying this is a list of the ONLY foods for IBS, just ones that are supposed to help make digestion easier.

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  1. Latricia Harris

I purchased a bottle of RezVera it suppose to help with IBS, gas, bloating, constipation and support good bowel health. It helps with gas,but the constipation is worst. I even brought a bottle of magnesium to help with constipation NO No luck.......

I purchased a bottle of RezVera it suppose to help with IBS, gas, bloating, constipation and support good bowel health. It helps with gas,but the constipation is worst. I even brought a bottle of magnesium to help with constipation NO No luck.... Do u have any suggestions, sometimes it feel like I am about to have a heart attack I don't know what to do any more. I am so unhappy due to my condition. Help ?

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Latricia,
Kathy and I discussed your question. In terms of our information, the thing that would probably help you the most is our ebook "Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 3 Crucial...

Hi Latricia,
Kathy and I discussed your question. In terms of our information, the thing that would probably help you the most is our ebook "Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 3 Crucial Secrets." It is WAY less expensive than a bottle of RezVera and is the same information we use with private clients to help them overcome their symptoms, including constipation. You'll find it on the Products page. In particular, check out the section on tapping, and look at where you're stuck in your life or perhaps holding onto old beliefs that no longer serve you. Make sure to tap on those, and tap on your physical symptoms as well. People are often surprised at how effective this can be.
BTW, all the information in the book works together, so please use the other sections as well and keep us posted on how it goes.

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  1. Latricia Harris

Hi Kathy, I want to know what can I eat maybe sunflower seeds, almonds and coconut ice cream. I am having a hard time finding things to eat and drink. I have been drinking almond milk and home made lemon aid with stevia any other suggestions.

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  1. Roman

Thanks for this.
But why not create a list for people with diarrhea and one for constipation?
It would really help.
...

Thanks for this.
But why not create a list for people with diarrhea and one for constipation?
It would really help.
Thank you.

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Good suggestion, Roman. There is a lot of cross-over though, as both IBS-D and IBS-C can be helped with soluble fibre foods.

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  1. Rev. Mary

Have found if I do not eat meat, dairy or grain, my bowels work just fine.

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Interesting. For some people, it's more the dairy and grain component that is the problem. But this is the challenge of all IBS diets and foods for IBS - there's no single way to eat that works for all people. I think this is part of the reason...

Interesting. For some people, it's more the dairy and grain component that is the problem. But this is the challenge of all IBS diets and foods for IBS - there's no single way to eat that works for all people. I think this is part of the reason IBS is such a frustrating condition. You have to really listen to your own body and find out what works best for you.
And I would add that there can be underlying stress and trauma that can affect digestion as well.

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