Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Its symptoms are not unique: abdominal pain, diarrhea, increased flatulence. According to experts, about 10-15% of the world’s population experience such discomfort 1. The exact causes of IBS are unknown; they include stress, impaired bowel motility, heredity, or individual characteristics of the gastrointestinal tract.
With IBS, the intestinal wall becomes especially sensitive. Therefore, nutrition directly affects your well-being. You can also help the intestines with medication. It is better to give preference to drugs for a course of treatment because they not only relieve symptoms for a short time but also fight the causes of the disease.
Below we will tell you which foods are best to exclude from your diet.
1. Milk and dairy products
There are two reasons why you should abstain from milk. First, they contain fats that irritate the intestines and can worsen diarrhea. Secondly, lactose is sugar. It is not absorbed into the large intestine, but during fermentation, it releases gases, which only increases flatulence 2.
What to replace? Try skim milk, and if your stomach continues to “resent”, switch to lactose-free: soy, almond, buckwheat, or coconut.
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by gluten intolerance, has recently been talked about. Since then, more and more often in stores, you can find gluten-free bread, which costs more than usual. This is not a marketing gimmick, although only 1% of the population has the disease, there is research that gluten sensitivity without celiac disease is also possible 3.
Replacements: Gluten is almost everywhere. In bread, pasta, cereals, and biscuits. Try to avoid foods with wheat, rye, and barley. Fortunately, shelves with the name “Gluten-free” have appeared in stores now.
3. Some types of nuts
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. It’s also always a great snack. Cashews and pistachios are oligosaccharides – types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and cause fermentation in the large intestine 4.
What to replace? Nuts for IBS. These include walnuts and pine nuts, peanuts, pecans, and almonds (no more than 10 per day).
4. Smoked products
Smoked fish and meat can be harmful to the average person due to the carcinogens contained in the smoke. For people with IBS, smoked meats are contraindicated due to the high concentration of salt and carrageenan substances. This dietary supplement is often used in meat smoking to increase bulk. Research shows that carrageenan can trigger peptic ulcer disease 5.
What to replace? Lean meat and fish.
5. Products causing gassing
One of the symptoms of IBS is flatulence – an increased amount of gas in the intestines. Most of these gases enter the body through swallowing, so doctors advise you to take your time while eating. Another source of gases is the vital activity of microorganisms that live in the colon 6. Their fermentation can be controlled by excluding legumes, all types of cabbage, mushrooms, grapes, pears, apples, peaches from the diet.
What to replace? Foods that reduce bloating: Bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, asparagus, banana, and ginger.
6. Foods with insoluble fiber content
Although fiber is neither absorbed nor digested by the body, it is essential for normal bowel function. Insoluble fiber cleanses the intestines and stimulates peristalsis, which can increase bloating and cramping 7. These include beans, bran, cauliflower, and nuts.
What to replace? Soluble fiber foods. In the presence of liquid, it converts the contents of the stomach to jelly and easily removes it from the body. Therefore, soluble fiber is advised for constipation. Food examples: rye bread, avocado, spinach, celery, raspberries, and strawberries.
THERE ARE CONTRAINDICATIONS. YOU NEED TO CONSULT WITH A SPECIALIST