Irritable Bowel Syndrome, widely known as IBS, is a chronic health condition that affects millions across the globe. In clinical terms, IBS can be defined as a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract which results in frequent bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, and/or discomfort. According to a 2018 study, the prevalence of IBS in India stands at 15 percent with more than 1 million cases per year. Some reports even suggest that it affects more women than men. While IBS cannot be cured, with a few lifestyle changes along with medical support, it can definitely be managed. Having a well-controlled IBS diet is one of the key factors when it comes to treating the condition.
Before prescriptions, doctors usually begin with a recommendation of a low-FODMAP diet. Fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols, or FODMAP, are basically carbohydrates that do not digest easily. These undigested carbs cause gas and the consequent bloating and discomfort. Much of it can be treated by simply following the ideal IBS diet. Here are some of the best foods for people dealing with an irritable bowel.
1. Lactose-free milk
Lactose, found in milk and other dairy products, is often the biggest trigger behind bowel discomfort for many. However, with the advancement in science and technology, we now have many substitutes available. If your diet consists of regular dairy intake, try substituting it with any of the following:
- Oat milk
- Almond milk
- Soya milk
- Rice milk
2. Low-fructose fruits
Malabsorption of fructose can trigger IBS by causing gas, bloating, and osmotic diarrhoea. Replacing high sugar-fructose fruits like apples, pears, and watermelon with banana, grapes, berries, and citrus fruits will be beneficial.
3. Low-FODMAP vegetables
Many people believe that vegetables can be severe triggers for IBS which makes them avoid all vegetables. However, the research on FODMAP has shown that certain vegetables are good for the gut and must be a part of your IBS diet. You can cut down on broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, and add the following to your diet:
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
4. Fermented foods
Fermented foods are known to have a healthy portion of probiotics that are extremely beneficial for the gut. Therefore, one must consider adding fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and kimchi to their IBS diet.
5. Eggs, lean meat, and Omega-3 fish
Eggs and lean meat are often rich in protein and can be easily digested. White meat chicken, for instance, results in easy digestion and no bloating and gas. Omega-3 fish, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory properties and is considered to be a ‘safe’ choice for IBS. Add fish like salmon and other Omega-3-rich varieties to your diet.
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