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How Eating the Right Foods Can Help With Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Our digestive system is the root of all health! It’s where you get nutrition for every cell in your body, including support for your immune system. If it is irritated, inflamed or constipated, it cannot do its job and your health will steadily decline as a result. IBS is the most common gut problem experienced and affects up to 20% of the population.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often chronic and can adversely impact day-to-day activities. Although there is no miracle cure, medicines and diet can help keep symptoms under control. Generally, symptoms include: stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.

IBS affects the digestive system. Possible causes may be the way food passes through the system, stress or an inherited condition. As the causes vary, so do the remedies. Medicines and diets require careful experimentation for each individual.

According to modern medicine there is no cure for IBS, however symptoms can be improved by changing your diet and lifestyle.

Diets for IBS sufferers

It can be beneficial to keep a diary of food and symptoms. Eating regularly and preparing food by selecting fresh ingredients, rather than unknown additives, will help to isolate potential triggers. It may be worth trying probiotics. It may also be beneficial to have regular exercise and find ways to relax.

Generally, good foods include porridge oats and some foods to avoid are those that are difficult to digest, e.g. cabbages or dried fruit.

Eating too quickly, missing meals and drinking too many carbonated drinks (or alcohol!) are known triggers for many IBS sufferers. There is evidence that problems can be exacerbated by taking in an abundance of fatty, spicy and processed foods or, indeed, too much fresh fruit, tea and coffee.

A qualified nutritionist can provide professional, individual guidance to ease the discomfort of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

IBS side-effects

Common side-effects include wind, bloating and stomach cramps, which can be reduced by following dietary advice.

For diarrhoea problems, reduce whole-grain foods and nuts. Drinking water is essential to avoid becoming dehydrated or if you suffer from constipation. Oats, pulses and carrots should also be included in a diet to relieve constipation.

Where to get help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The National Health Service in the UK can provide a diagnosis and your General Practitioner may be able to prescribe medication and general diet guidelines (as above). Pharmacists may also be able to recommend medicines that may be suitable. Consulting an experienced, qualified nutritionist will result in a personal health care programme of a suitable diet and exercise that will help an individual to live comfortably with their symptoms.

To find out more about ‘Gut Health’, visit