Recently, I have been dealing with a lot of irritable bowel syndrome cases, or what is known as colon problems. The reason for IBS is still unknown and can happen suddenly. Common symptoms include flatulence, abdominal gases, constipation and diarrhea at the same time. And these symptoms can even become worse with stress.
For all IBS sufferers, diet modifications will surely reduce those symptoms a lot. But you need to be aware of all the foods you are eating to see which items are causing extra discomfort. One note to remember is that the symptoms are very personal and unique for each individual, and one symptom can affect one person but not the other one.
Nutrition Modifications: Poor eating habits such as skipping meals, low fiber and water intake, excessive fatty food intake, sensitivity to milk and other dairy products, excessive caffeine and alcohol intake need to be modified as a first step to relieve the IBS symptoms.
The most common dietary treatment is a high fiber diet, especially for those who suffer from constipation. But some patients may not benefit from an increase in dietary fiber which may worsen the symptoms for them. That is why the increase in fiber should be gradual, involving a variety of fibers and an adequate water intake of at least 1.5 liters per day.
IBS symptoms tend to increase after a large meal, particularly if the meal is high in fat, or if the meal is eaten quickly. You should try and split your meals into five small and healthy ones.
Avoid eating quickly and try to relax after a meal.
As I mentioned before, flatulence is a major symptom for IBS. Some food items should be excluded completely from the diet then reintroduced gradually once the problem is solved. The items include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green pepper, capsicum, beans, foul, hummus, burghul, lentil or couscous. Carbonated soft drinks should also be excluded.
Some individuals with IBS should try and eliminate all sources of lactose from their diets, due to the lactose intolerance. Lactose is mainly found in dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yogurt. Remember that these foods give us important nutrients, and their reduced consumption can affect our calcium and vitamin D levels; a workaround is to start taking supplements.
Some people can feel extremely bloated with a strong stomach pain right after eating onion or garlic. If this is the case, these two items should be excluded as well.
My personal advice to people suffering from IBS is to:
- Keep a diary of your food, fluid and symptoms, as this will help you track your case
- Start with the basics of three low fat, high fiber meals with two light snacks per day. Drink 1.5 liters of water daily and avoid excessive
intake of soft drinks and caffeine. Eat slowly and make mealtimes as relaxing as possible.
- Once symptoms have settled, reintroduce the foods excluded but gradually.
- Consider consulting a dietitian for individual advice regarding your diet and any modifications.
Hope this article was beneficial to you.
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