What to Eat With IBS: 5 Tips

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
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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54 thoughts on “What to Eat With IBS: 5 Tips”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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 Eating For IBS.”

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. I have been struggling to get my symptoms under control. The hardest part is that my blood pressure goes quite high (even up to 180/100) when I have a flair up. Doctors hypertension meds don’t help but anti-anxiety meds do. I know the problem is IBS causing the BP, but its the BP that scares me. Any tips to get the BP back to a more normal rate while I am dealing with the IBS too??

  12. Hi Elaine,
    It sounds like you’re saying that anxiety raises your blood pressure, which is certainly not unusual. I think we’re all familiar with the idea that stress can raise blood pressure and IBS is definitely stressful!

    We have several blog posts about dealing with anxiety as well as a short video that shows you how to do EFT tapping to reduce anxiety. Why not try some of our suggestions and see if that helps you?

    Here’s the link to the post with the video, http://www.no-ibs.com/blog/self-treatment-for-anxiety-when-irritable-bowel-symptoms-calm-brains-alarm-center.html or just look at the list of blog posts on the right side of this page and you’ll see several about anxiety. Let me know how you do.

    And, just to be clear, I am NOT a doctor, so please do not construe anything I say as medical advice.

  13. Hi my huisband warren has been in hospital and we have lived through 2 years of really really bad ibs your site is the best for advising how to eat foods and especially fruit have really leant heaps
    thankyou so much Marie

  14. WOW AWesome fantastic information. I take 1 TBSP of Chia in water a day, so thrilled that you mentioned that. I fully encourage everyone to take Chia also its a full packed health help, easy to take and digest.

  15. i have been diagnos with ibs for years.to day is ab spasms day not sure what to eat so i prepare cook root turips, applesauce and flax seed

  16. Hi Tina,
    You might also want to read the blog posts on IBS & Diverticulosis Spasm Relief, and the one called Relief IBS Nausea and Abdominal Pain. Perhaps the technique we show in that video would help your spasms.

  17. i an suffering from ibs for 6 months.i have controlled my diet and eat very carefully.My spasms are very much controlled.Almost gone.(on/off during morning wake up.But my tummy and body seems to be squeezed up and no increase in weight.i lost 7 kg weight.

  18. Hi Gary, If you read through the blog posts on this site, you will find a great deal of useful information. As you will see, the answer to IBS is not just a matter of diet. Our physical bodies respond to our emotions as well as our food and the toxic chemicals in our environment. So it helps to address your stress with EFT tapping, and to clear chemicals from your bedroom and home environment. You will find information about these things on this site. There are several videos on how to do EFT tapping – for example, look at the blog posts on Anxiety. You will find them listed on the Home page.

  19. I take Apple cider vinegar and manuke honey for my ibs and so I don’t have any pain my only problem is that I pass loads of small motions even after a normal motion. It seems each time I pass water a small splat of motion is passed too. Don’t know how to stop this. I also take movicol when needed. Any suggestions please.

  20. A couple of thoughts:I’m wondering if supplementary soluble fibre would help you, since it helps to both lubricate and bulk up the stool. Acacia is a better source than inulin, apparently as it digests slower. You could also eat a soluble fibre food at the start of each meal.I’m also wondering if you need to work on improving your intestinal flora (see our article: http://www.no-ibs.com/blog/how-to-have-good-gut-flora-and-why-you-desperately-need-it.html) It’s possible that things are not digesting quite as they should which might be why you have these splats, but improving your flora may help with this.Personally, I would also do some EFT Tapping on the symptoms.

  21. Isn’t chia a probiotic? Try kefir grains. You let them ferment in sugar water and flavor them with juice or dried fruit. They may not taste perfect but one glass day wouldnhelp. Just be carful because if you drink to much to fast it will make you have watery stools. It cleans out the bad bacteria in your body. And although people say acne has no relation to diet even though I and many others believe it does it can help clean your facial acne be taking out the root cause. UBS suck, so glad people are willing to try new things to stop the problem at its root! Thanks for the diet tips guys!

  22. I’m am new to learning what to eat and what not to eat since I have been diagnosed with IBS. I would appreciate some great recipes to get me started. Thanks. God bless You.

  23. I’m kind of confused on soluable and insoluble fiber/ foods.. What it says I can eat without any problems with my stomach is not true for me. I had some pineapple one day on an empty stomach and later on in the day my stomach got really sick and bad stomach cramps.. I’ve read to eat it on an empty stomach,.. Not for me.. I also can’t eat beef and a lot of greens and certain spices… Any suggestions for an easy digestion???

  24. Hi Diane,I wish there was a one-size-fits-all diet for people with IBS, but unfortunately, there isn’t. I have trouble with pineapple, too, perhaps because it is rather acidic. If you have bacteria in the small intestine, the sugars in pineapple will feed that bacteria and potentially cause problems. Fruit sugars are often difficult for IBS people. (see Sue Shepherd’s site about FODMAPS)Sometimes it helps to puree greens or cook them well. I know we’re always told to eat our veggies raw, but plants contain substances like phytates and insoluble fiber that make them difficult to digest in the raw state. When you break them down more with cooking and pureeing, they may be easier for you to digest.As for beef, every body is different – some thrive on it, some can’t eat it. It may be the type of beef, too. Perhaps you are reacting to something in the beef, such as antibiotics that were given to the beef cattle. Organic, grass-fed or pastured beef is considered the best but it can be expensive and not always easy to find.Something else that has helped our clients is using EFT tapping to reduce the stress around food and eating generally. There’s lots of info on this site about tapping, or you can check out our ebook for IBS on the products page. http://www.no-ibs.com/products-for-ibs-relief.htmlHope that helps!

  25. I have fibromyalgia and have recently had problems with IBS-D. I have yet to determine the trigger foods as it sends like it’s different each time. I do know v is worse in the morning. …..I can go 3 or 4 times one right after another and then be ok for the rest of the day. It comes on fast with the tummy rumbles and I better find a bathroom real fast. I’m unsure if my fibro triggers my ibs or vice versa but it’s very discouraging! Some I had my gull bladder out 10 years ago I always had a loose still in the am…. but in the last 6 months its gotten much worse. ….. any suggestions? ? Thank you!

  26. Hi Shannon,A couple of things come to mind. One is that according to Dr. Robert Scaer, fibromyalgia has a trauma link, so it may help you to use some EFT tapping on the urgency or D. Please see our post http://www.no-ibs.com/blog/running-back-to-the-bathroom-when-leaving-the-house-nervous-stomach.htmlAnother thought is that peppermint oil capsules often help with IBS symptoms. The capsules (as opposed to tea) get to the intestines relatively undigested where they have a chance to break down and release their contents to soothe your digestive tract.You might also try eating some soluble fibre foods or taking a soluble fiber supplement before bed, which can help with D.Are you eating fatty foods in the evening? Fat triggers a hormone in the digestive tract that stimulates contractions of the intestines, which might be causing your symptoms. Also, if you’ve had your gall bladder out, it may be harder to process fats. Perhaps a good digestive enzyme containing bile (to break down fats) would help.Hope that helps.

  27. thanks for this site lots of great information I have had IBS c+D more D for 5 years now. have found eggs, uncooked apples have affect on my stomach. I had campylobacter over 5 years ago. get spasams fever feeling sick that disappears after i have been to toilet.

  28. Hi Tracey,Have you tried enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules for the IBS-D? The enteric coating keeps them from dissolving in your stomach. Instead, they go to your intestines, where they help with diarrhea and digestive problems in general.Just a thought.

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