Tips for managing IBS

IRRITABLE bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects a significant portion of people, is more common in women than men, yet not much has been offered in terms of a cure, and the exact cause isn't known.

According to the Mayo Clinic, IBS affects the stomach and intestines, and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhoea or constipation, or both, and these can go on for days, and even longer.

It's thought that diet has a lot to do with controlling this chronic condition, and many sufferers adopt a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet excludes any foods that contain the protein found in wheat and other grains. Here are some recommendations from nutritionist Keisha Black, for managing IBS.

Eat home-made food

Ensure that most of the food you eat is made by you, and fresh, where you can control the added ingredients like salt, spice and sugar. IBS is sometimes triggered by spicy, high-sodium processed foods, and while you can control these at home, you may not be able to when you eat outside your home.

Take probiotics

Probiotics help to regulate gut flora, strengthen your system, and boost your immune response.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sodas

Not only are these generally bad for you, but for IBS sufferers, they can trigger an episode. While you are cutting back on alcohol and carbonated beverages, note that many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink foods containing wheat, dairy, citrus, beans, cabbage, milk, and caffeine.

Eat slowly

Don't rush to eat, or wait too long to eat. Chewing your food longer breaks it down more which helps your stomach digest it. When you eat too fast, you swallow more air, which can cause bloating and gas


High stress conditions can trigger IBS, so it's important that when stressed, you take a pause before you have a flare. Also, stress can cause you to delay or skip meals, which can also trigger IBS symptoms.

Avoid some fruits and veggies

Foods that are hard to digest, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beans, onions and dried fruit, can trigger IBS symptoms.

Regulate your body

Up your fibre intake by eating foods like oats regularly, and add seeds like linseeds (flaxseeds) to your diet. Flaxseeds can be added to almost any dish, and are a good source of fibre, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids.


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