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What should you eat to help you prevent painful symptoms when you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Knowing what NOT to eat is just as important as learning what to eat with IBS.

So here are some tips…

1) Eat soluble fiber foods. Soluble fiber soothes your intestines whether you have IBS with constipation or diarrhea. These foods include:
bananas, avocado,
peeled apples,
mango and papaya,
white rice, rice pasta,
white bread,
oats, barley, buckwheat
quinoa,
mushrooms,
chestnuts,
winter squash, pumpkin,
most root vegetables,
potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes.

2) Eat soluble fibre foods BEFORE you eat other foods. So eat your parsnips or squash or whatever first, before you eat your chicken and salad (if you tolerate salad.)

3) Avoid dairy. I know, I know, everyone gets all freaked out about this because dairy products taste good and we’ve all been brainwashed to believe that if you don’t eat them, you’ll end up with osteoporosis. NOT true! A study of 78,000 women by Harvard University showed that the dairy-consumers had MORE fracture risk.

But back to digestion and what to eat with IBS. Milk products are the TOP problem food when you have digestive trouble. Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, the protein in milk can cause you pain, gas and spasms. Ouch!

There’s a theory that the reason dairy is the top problem food is because of pasteurizing. This basically means cooking it until it’s dead. So that kills off all the natural enzymes in dairy that would help you digest it. In countries where they don’t pasteurize milk, they apparently don’t have IBS either.

BTW, I’m sure you already know this, but eggs are not dairy. Only milk from cows, goats and sheep counts as dairy products. So, cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, yogurt, kefir, whipping cream and anything else that contains milk or cream.

4) Are fats and oils part of what to eat with IBS? Absolutely. You need some essential fatty acids or your body won’t work properly. (Neither will your brain.) Omega 3’s are destroyed by cooking and processing. You can get your omegas from ground flax seed or soaked chia and then you get the soluble fiber benefits too.

Otherwise, go light on eating fatty foods, especially if you have diarrhea. Dr. D.S. Khalsa says that fat – especially animal fat – makes the colon contract because of a hormone called cholecystokin.

So if you’re prone to spasms in the gut, watch out for fatty foods like bacon, hamburgers, scalloped potatoes, etc. Deep-fried fats are especially challenging for your body to digest so avoid the French fries, tempura, and batter-fried anything.

5) Eat fruit alone, not with other foods. Fruit goes through your system fast because it’s mostly water and natural sugar (and a few vitamins.) If you eat it after a meal, as dessert, you’re asking for gas and bloating because it will tend to ferment the food you’ve already eaten.

So eat fruit either 30 minutes before a meal, or 2 hours afterwards. Bananas may be an exception to this because they contain a lot of starch. You may be okay mixing them with starchy foods like oatmeal but definitely do NOT mix acid fruits like strawberries with cereal or other starchy carbos unless you want explosions.

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 your autonomic nervous system is triggered 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.


By the way, there's more great information about food and IBS in our special report "Unlocking the Mystery of IBS." Along with that you'll get insider details about the top 5 triggers of IBS... including the one thing nobody has told you that is likely keeping you from getting better - and how to deal with it to resolve your symptoms. Simply put your email address in the box on the right for instant access to this special IBS information.

We'd love to hear more about your experience of eating with IBS or your favourite IBS recipes. Leave a comment below - first name only (your email will not show) and click on the Share button to share this article with your friends.

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Comments (35)

  1. waseem

I have IBS-D , struggling to recover from last two years. Not able to manage the food ..

would be great if you can suggest what to eat...

I have IBS-D , struggling to recover from last two years. Not able to manage the food ..

would be great if you can suggest what to eat and what to avoid please.

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Waseem,
I'm curious about what you're eating now. Typically foods that are a problem for diarrhea are fatty foods which make the bowel go into contractions (not what you want), too much...

Hi Waseem,
I'm curious about what you're eating now. Typically foods that are a problem for diarrhea are fatty foods which make the bowel go into contractions (not what you want), too much fruit except for soluble fibre fruits, caffeine and chocolate, and ANY FOOD you do not tolerate. This could include dairy products, grain products (depends on the person), foods that contain preservatives and colours, and any of the top food allergens. With IBS-D, in my experience, there are often high levels of anxiety, so it's a good idea to do everything possible to reduce your anxiety levels through yoga, meditation, EFT tapping, exercise, etc. The No IBS Program really helps with this as well. You want to make sure you keep your mineral levels high since diarrhea is so depleting. Putting mineral drops in your drinking water or herbal tea helps to add back the magnesium and other electrolytes that can be lost through diarrhea. Sugar uses up your minerals so it's not a good choice.

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  1. Zdenka

Hi Karen,
these 5 tips are good, I had IBS problems for years and finaly atarted to do something about it. I had a food allergy blood test done and found out that I should avoid milk products,...

Hi Karen,
these 5 tips are good, I had IBS problems for years and finaly atarted to do something about it. I had a food allergy blood test done and found out that I should avoid milk products, eggs, wheat, rye, gluten and spelt. I am trying to eat other foods instead now for about 10 days and feel much better already. Thaks for your tips, they go exactly with the other recommendations I got.

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  1. Melani

Good morning all.I have IBS-D for exactly 1 year now.After many test the docters placed me on Librax(1 three times a day)Imodium(2 three times a day)and at night treptiline 25mg.This works great.I have a normal stool once maybe twice a day,but I...

Good morning all.I have IBS-D for exactly 1 year now.After many test the docters placed me on Librax(1 three times a day)Imodium(2 three times a day)and at night treptiline 25mg.This works great.I have a normal stool once maybe twice a day,but I did notice that if I eat fruit or drink fruit juice that I will have to run about 4-5 times.I'm very lucky,because I never have spasms or pain.That is what the dr's can not understand,because according to them my bowls are all one tight knot.Also I am now drinking probiflora 9.I can eat normal with my family if I drink my medisyne and don't have to worry about making a list of all the public toilets when going to town.

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Zdenka,
Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. You might want to find out if you're chemically-sensitive too, since this can affect your digestion.

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  1. Brie

Hi, I am a 17 year old girl that has recently been diagnosed with IBS. It has been extremly hard for me to keep up and remember all the foods I should and should not eat. I guess the most difficult part is realizing I am not able to enjoy alot of...

Hi, I am a 17 year old girl that has recently been diagnosed with IBS. It has been extremly hard for me to keep up and remember all the foods I should and should not eat. I guess the most difficult part is realizing I am not able to enjoy alot of the foods I once used too.( milk products,bread,chocolate,caffeine,sugary foods, fatty foods and red meats.) I find it rather depressing and for the past couple months ive been over whelmed(also inreased bad anxiety) with the news. I was poorly informed about how to deal with this by my doctor( which makes me rather irritated) that as a stress reliever ive been eating alot more. And generally foods that are restricted from an " IBS diet." I've been trying to improve my overall health and fitness but it's rather hard to pursue with this illness. It feels like im making no improvments.Any suggestions to get out of this constant cycle of no goodness and finally feel better?

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Brie,
You've raised such good points that I've written a whole blog post in response to your request for suggestions. Take a look at the post called "How to Deal With The Frustration of...

Hi Brie,
You've raised such good points that I've written a whole blog post in response to your request for suggestions. Take a look at the post called "How to Deal With The Frustration of Eating For IBS."

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  1. frances

hi im just trying to find out whether i have ibs or not though its looking more likely that i have what with all the symptons ive been experencing not very comfortably to say the least

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  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Frances,
Only your doctor can tell you for sure whether or not you have IBS. It's wise to get a medical diagnosis as there are several health conditions that have similar symptoms to IBS.

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  1. Cindy

Is it possible to be diagnosed with h-pylori and ibs at the same time? I've been positive for h-pylori after treatment I was well but now recently I started getting signs of ibs, worst abdominal pain every only goes away after my bowel movement

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