Healthy TIPS for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) sufferers

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Things to avoid:
  • Coffee, Yogurt (All dairy is extremely likely to cause IBS symptoms to flare - from diarrhea and cramps to constipation, bloating, and gas. Dairy products, including yogurt and Lactaid milk, have casein, whey, and typically a very high amount of fat as well.)
  • Alcohol, Vitamin supplements (Vitamin and mineral supplements in general often cause GI problems for people with IBS.
  • Ask your local pharmacist about the most tolerable brands of vitamins in their store. Liquid vitamins or powder caplets may also be more tolerable than pills.
  • Another thing to consider is the fillers and additives in many vitamins; check the ingredients for lactose, artificial colors, and preservatives, as many people with IBS are sensitive to even small quantities of these substances. A health food store may have a wider variety of additive-free vitamins than a drug store. It's often helpful to take two or three smaller-dose vitamin/mineral supplements each day instead of one large dose.),
  • Not drinking enough water, No insoluble fiber foods (It's definitely not a good idea to simply avoid insoluble fiber foods altogether. Insoluble fiber is found in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and you can tell at a glance that these are among the very healthiest foods in the world. If you don't eat them you're setting yourself up for serious long-term health problems.)
  • Too low a dosage of soluble fiber (A soluble fiber supplement such as Acacia Tummy Fiber should be extremely helpful for IBS. Soluble fiber is key to preventing the abdominal spasms and bowel dysfunction of IBS, and this is just as true for supplements as it is for soluble fiber foods.)

Other tips for IBS:

  • Avoid ice-cold foods and drinks on an empty stomach. Cold makes muscles contract, and your goal with the IBS diet is to keep your stomach and the rest of your GI tract as calm as possible.
  • Avoid chewing gum, as it causes you to swallow excess air, which can trigger problems.
  • Drink fresh water constantly throughout the day (not ice cold). Limit the amount of water or other fluids you drink with your meals, as this can inhibit digestion.
  • Only eat green salads: tiny portions, non-fat dressing - at the end of the meal, not the beginning (tell people you're French).
  • Peel, skin, chop and cook fruits and vegetables: mash or puree beans, corn, peas, and berries. Finely chop nuts, raisins and other dried fruits, and fresh herbs. Nuts in particular can be quite tolerable for IBS when finely ground. To keep dried fruit from sticking to your knife when chopping, spray the blade with cooking oil first.