To prevent IBS pain that may be caused by food, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1) Check for food allergies and sensitivities since they will impact your digestive system. Food sensitivities may exist even if they don’t show up on allergy tests. One way to track what’s affecting you is to…
2) Keep a food diary. When you track how you feel after you eat different foods, you will see patterns and learn which foods trigger your IBS symptoms. So, it’s important to…
3) Know the top food allergens as well as the foods that cause the most digestive problems and are worst for IBS. When you know what they are, you can watch out for them. The foods that most commonly cause gastro problems are:
- wheat and other grains – corn, rye, barley, etc.
- dairy – milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt
- deep-fried foods and high fat foods
- junk foods
- artificial sweeteners
- artificially sweetened and colored foods and drinks (pop, sports drinks, candy, gum, etc.)
- legumes (beans) and other gas-causing foods, like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and other "cruciferous" vegetables
- caffeine – coffee, black tea, chocolate
- sugar, alcohol
- citrus foods, especially oranges and orange juice
- eggs, pork, beef, shellfish, fish
- peanuts and other nuts
- spicy foods
You may not react to all these foods. The foods at the top of the list are some of the worst offenders. When foods don’t work for you, don’t feel sorry about giving them up. Instead think of the huge favour you’re doing yourself, since the foods you react badly to will not only cause IBS pain and digestive symptoms but can make you feel exhausted, depressed, sometimes even suicidal. When you eat for IBS, it also helps to…
4) Learn about food combining especially if you have constipation. There are lots of articles on how to food combine – sometimes called The Hay Diet after Dr. Hay who popularized it in the early 1900’s - on the internet or get a book from the library.
Basically, in food combining, you don’t eat protein with starches, especially grain-based starches, don’t mix starch and fruit, don’t eat acid foods (strawberries, tomatoes, pineapples, etc.) with protein, don’t eat two protein foods at the same meal, and eat melons alone. There are several other rules for food combining designed to help your body digest your food efficiently without creating fermentation in your gut which can lead to gas and bloating.
Is this the best way to eat for IBS? As with all dietary “rules”, you need to observe whether food combining works well for you.
Some of the easiest foods to digest when you have IBS contain…
5) Soluble fiber. All foods from plants contain fiber. Some contain insoluble fiber, which is harder to break down in the digestive tract, and some contain soluble fibre. (Some contain both.) Soluble fibre forms a gel in your intestines that is soothing to the bowel.
When you eat for IBS, you need both types of fiber because it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need just from the soluble fiber group. But to avoid digestive problems, eat the soluble fiber foods first BEFORE you eat the foods with insoluble fiber. You can also try breaking down the insoluble fiber through peeling, cooking, pureeing, or using a high-speed blender.
Soluble fiber foods include:
- root vegetables
- tropical fruit such as bananas, mango, papaya and avocado
- some grains, if you tolerate them, including quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal, white bread and pasta, and rice
You can also buy soluble fiber supplements. Psyllium husks, an ingredient in Metamucil®, doesn’t work well for everyone. Other soluble fibre supplements get their soluble fibre from inulin (from chicory root), acacia, methylcellulose, calcium polycarbophil, or wheat dextrin. Watch out for sweeteners in the supplement and, if you’re grain-sensitive, avoid the wheat dextrin.
And finally, to avoid triggering IBS pain from eating…
6) Learn acupressure tapping or EFT to relieve your stress and anxiety about food, eating, and IBS symptoms.
Eating under stressful conditions, which could be 90% of the time when you have IBS, is NOT a recipe for digestive success. When you tap to relieve your anxiety about food and eating, you calm the arousal centers in your brain that trigger IBS symptoms. This means your digestive system will be much more relaxed when you eat (or even when you think about food) and you are less likely to end up in pain.
If you don’t know how to tap, you can check out our videos on Youtube.
BTW, did you know...
...we have a unique program for effective IBS relief that gets to the root of what's causing your symptoms? (And it's drug-free.) Check it out here.
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