Irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon is a highly prevalent gastrointestinal disorder, which is characterized by chronic abdominal pain, stomach cramps, bloating, constipation and / or diarrhea. This common gut disorder is extremely common among young adults, especially those between twenty and thirty years of age. A prior food related illness and / or increased sensitivity of the gut are the two probable causes for irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
Extreme stress and eating certain types of food are likely to exacerbate the symptoms which are linked to this gastrointestinal disorder. Intelligent dietary modifications can to a large extent help control the unpleasant symptoms of IBS. Some essential dietary changes to combat the effects of IBS are explained in this article.
Best Dietary Changes For IBS
Increase The Intake of Soluble Fiber
A common symptom of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is severe constipation. IBS patients are advised to eat plenty of high fiber foods even if they suffer from diarrhea. However, to ease constipation while avoiding diarrhea, people who suffer from IBS, are advised to eat foods rich in soluble fiber instead of insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber adds bulk to stools without irritating the gut. Flaxseeds, dried fruits, legumes and oats contain high amounts of soluble fiber.
Reduce or Avoid Intake of High Fat Foods
People who are diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome should stay away from heavy, greasy and high fat foods. High fat foods are known to worsen the symptoms of this particular gastrointestinal disorder. Eating high fat foods can actually aggravate the problem of constipation among patients who suffer from IBS. Furthermore, eating a lot of greasy foods can also lead to diarrhea. So, ideally people with IBS should cut out high fat foods from their diet and instead stick to nutritious low fat foods to ease the symptoms of IBS.
Increase Intake of Water
IBS patients are advised to drink plenty of water. In fact, people who suffer from IBS should drink eight to ten glasses of water every day. Water not only helps to flush out toxin from the body but it also helps to prevent dehydration (especially among IBS patients who suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhea). Drinking plenty of water can keep the stools soft and prevent the problem of constipation.
Restrict Intake of Aerated and Caffeinated Drinks
This is an important dietary modification to help control the symptoms of IBS. IBS patients should avoid drinking aerated and caffeinated drinks as far as possible. Carbonated and caffeinated drinks can trigger abdominal uneasiness and bloating.
Additionally, these drinks intensify stomach acid production and can cause an individual with IBS to experience severe acidity attacks. People with IBS are also inclined to suffer from diarrhea or constipation after consuming caffeinated and / or aerated drinks.
Reduce Intake of Dairy Products
For the last couple of years or so the idea that having dairy products can worsen the symptoms of IBS has been gathering pace. Contrary to popular belief, dairy products like milk can actually aggravate instead of soothing the symptoms of IBS. The main reason for milk intolerance among IBS patients is the presence of lactose – a sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent in other dairy products.
Medical research has shown that a whopping twenty percent of all IBS patients suffer from severe lactose intolerance. IBS sufferers who consumed dairy products suffered from bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps and even diarrhea.
Increase Intake of Fermented Foods
People with this particular gastrointestinal disorder can notice a significant change in the symptoms related to IBS after including fermented foods in their diet. Eating a lot of fermented foods can actually alleviate the unpleasant symptoms linked to IBS. Fermented foods can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and improve overall bowel health. Fermented foods like fermented bean paste, kimchi, kefir and miso should be incorporated into the diet of a patient suffering from IBS.