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Suffering from IBS? Here Are Some Safe Foods You Can Have!

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Suffering from IBS? Here Are Some Safe Foods You Can Have!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common health complaint the affects the bowels of many of us. The name IBS is a frustrating catch all term to describe symptoms such as cramping, bloating, excess wind, diarrhoea and constipation, with no known cause. It’s often a lifelong condition with flare ups caused by factors such as stress, diet, change in habitat and excess alcohol or caffeine.  

Eating healthily by filling up on home cooked meals using fresh, unprocessed ingredients will help to manage the symptoms of IBS. But there are certain foods that can be especially beneficial…

  • Oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines. These fish are all good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which help to manage inflammation in the body. A build-up of inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet can cause IBS symptoms to feel worse.
  • Lean meats such as chicken breast and low fat beef cuts with easily digestible proteins which don’t contribute to bloating and gas.
  • Plant-based protein sources such as nuts and seeds which are also rich in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Fermented foods such as (low sugar) yoghurts, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. These types of foods contain beneficial probiotic bacteria (also known as ‘good’ bacteria) that contribute to a healthy gut.

FODMAP foods

You may find that eating cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts) makes your symptoms worse (as they’re all ‘gas-forming’ foods). If so, try to limit these and opt for non-cruciferous veggies such as salad leaves, spinach, peas, green beans, aubergines, courgettes, peppers, potatoes and carrots instead.

A healthy diet is one rich in fruits and vegetables, but sadly, if eating too much green veg sets off your symptoms, you’ll need to strike a careful balance. Some find that following a ‘low FODMAP’ diet helps. High FODMAP foods such as cauliflower, greens, wheat and beans contain certain carbohydrates that the human gut cannot digest. Instead, the microbes that reside in the gut digest them, effectively fermenting them, releasing gas and contributing to bloating and wind.

Low FODMAP foods include the non-cruciferous vegetables listed above plus nuts, seeds, bananas, melons, grapes, kiwis, oranges, avocados, lactose free dairy products, eggs, fish and lean meat. 

Foods to avoid if you have IBS

Similarly, there are certain foods that are best avoided, or at least limited, if you suffer the symptoms of IBS. These are: 

  • Overly processed foods such as ready meals, takeaways and junk food
  • Hot or spicy foods such as curries or anything with a lot of chilli
  • High fat foods such as processed meats, pies, pastries, chips, crisps and cakes
  • Excessive amounts of sugary, fizzy, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks

 IBS isn’t easy to manage, and each sufferer has different triggers. Understanding what makes your symptoms worse is key to self-management of the condition. Try eating the foods we’ve listed above (and avoiding the ‘bad’ IBS foods) and see what difference it can make to you. You might find it makes the world of difference!

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