IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a common health condition that causes a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms, while some people also experience fatigue, nausea, headaches and migraines.
IBS symptoms can be caused or worsened by stress, lifestyle factors and general health, but diet plays a huge role in managing the condition, as certain foods are known to trigger symptoms.
Here are seven foods that trigger IBS symptoms.
Healthy eating plans often contain plenty of foods high in fiber, including whole grains, as fiber can help to maintain a healthy digestive tract. However, people with IBS often find it difficult to digest fiber, leading to gas, bloating, pain and other digestive problems. Whole grains, such as those used in wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta and brown rice, can make IBS symptoms worse.
Baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and other pulses are also high in fiber and can produce unpleasant symptoms. Cutting out all beans and pulses is advisable for most people with chronic bloating, wind and stomach pain. As beans and pulses are among the main sources of protein in vegan diets, vegans will need to find other sources of protein to ensure they are getting the right nutrients.
Dried fruit is particularly high in fiber, which means that intake of raisins, prunes, dried apricots and other dried fruit should be limited as much as possible. The skin, seeds and pips of fresh fruit, such as apples, pears and strawberries, can also trigger symptoms. Limiting fruit intake to one or two pieces a day can help to relieve symptoms in some people.
Eating a diet that contains lots of fatty foods is one of the main causes of IBS symptoms, so it’s important to cut back on fried foods, oil-based salad dressings and other high-fat foods, such as pastries, pies, cakes and fatty cuts of meat. Nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea can all be the result of excess fat intake.
Raw vegetables are more difficult to digest than cooked vegetables, which can cause problems for people living with IBS. Steaming, boiling, roasting or baking vegetables until they are soft makes it easier to digest most types of vegetable. However, some people find their symptoms get much worse after eating vegetables from the cruciferous family, which includes cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sweetcorn, onions and garlic, even when they are fully cooked.
Alcohol is another common trigger that can cause excess gas, bloating, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal problems. Reducing overall alcohol intake can significantly improve symptoms for some people, while others notice an improvement after switching to a different type of alcohol. Some people experience pain only after drinking certain types of alcohol, most notably beer or lager, but have no problem when drinking wine or spirits.
Artificial sweeteners can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, wind, bloating and nausea. Diet drinks, chewing gum, and sugar-free products often contain artificial sweeteners. For people with IBS, choosing products that contain sugar is often preferable to eating the sugar-free versions.
The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be triggered by specific foods, including whole grains, beans, fruit, fatty foods, raw vegetables, alcohol and artificial sweeteners. Avoiding these trigger foods can help to relieve symptoms and lessen the impact of IBS on your life.
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