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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Treatments » Food Sensitivity and IBS

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Food Sensitivity and IBS

Herbal remedies can truly be an effective way to control IBS symptoms, but before you resort to taking herbs, you may want to take a close look at your diet.  Studies have found that the cause of IBS may be closely related to food sensitivities, as IBS sufferers appear to have higher levels of antibodies to foods than healthy individuals. 

Thus, the food you are ingesting may be aggravating your already sensitive gut.  Although you may be aware of and avoid one or two food products that set off your IBS, you’d be surprised at how many other food can add fuel to the fire.

Discovering what foods you are sensitive too requires the creation of a food diary.  Recording each morsel of food you eat and the symptoms you experience after each meal will help you determine what foods trigger an IBS attack.  You should create your diary with the help of a professional such as a nutritionist or your health care provider, so that you have effective guidance and results.

Although food sensitivities may vary for each IBS sufferer, the following is a list of foods that are known to trigger IBS symptoms, particularly diarrhea –
• Sugar – natural (I.E. honey) refined (I.E. chocolate) artificial (I.E. sweeteners)
• Carbonated beverages
• Alcohol
• Dairy
• Fried and fatty foods
• Dark meat and poultry skin
• Red meat
• Shortening
• Egg yolks

Foods that are linked to symptoms of gas include:
• Bananas
• Raisins
• Broccoli
• Cabbage family – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
• Leeks
• Onion
• Beans
• Garlic
• Nuts

Despite all of the different food products that can lead to symptoms, it has been found that most food sensitivities felt by IBS sufferers are related to:
• Fructose (sugar found in dried fruit and fruit juice)
• Sorbitol (sugar replacement)
• Lactose (milk sugar)
• Wheat bran

Unlike lactose intolerance, which is actually quite a common condition among IBS sufferers, the other food sensitivities listed above cannot be discovered through allergy testing.  Thus, a food diary can help detect such sensitivities, so that they can be eliminated from the diet in an effort to improve symptoms.

Furthermore, it is essential your diet contains sufficient fiber.  There are two types of fiber: Soluble and insoluble.  Insoluble fiber is harder on the system and moves faster though the digestive tract.  Therefore, it is better to ingest soluble fiber instead of insoluble fiber, as soluble fiber is slower moving through the digestive system and can reduce symptoms. 

Soluble fiber helps to prevent spasms in the intestinal tract and keeps the colon slightly distended.  Fiber also helps you absorb water which can prevent constipation.  However, keep in mind that eating a high-fiber diet can increase gas, bloating and diarrhea.  Therefore, you should try to keep your diet regulated with fiber.  You can find soluble fiber in barley, lima beans, barley, currants, brown rice, oatmeal, oat bran, figs, pasta, prunes, soy, rice, etc.

When it all comes down to it, many people with IBS find that by keeping their diet high in carbohydrates (I.E. vegetables, fruits, rice, pasta, cereal and whole-grain bread, etc.) and low in fat, they have an overall improvement of symptoms.  In addition, it was also found that instead of eating three large meals per day, eating several small meals daily helped to reduce symptoms.

Drinking more water can also aid in proper digestion, but you should avoid drinking water with meals as this may cause food to move faster through your system resulting in diarrhea.

Remember, the best way to determine your food sensitivities is to create a food diary.  You can get a handle over your IBS symptoms by eliminating “trigger” foods from your diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and finding ways to reduce stress.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for a free newsletter & discover proven natural methods to help you combat the pain and frustration of IBS. On the site you’ll also find more about treating symptoms by following a ibs diet.

When you find one of our blog posts interesting and useful why not buy me a herbal tea to fund further work.

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