Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 1 out of 10 Americans every year. Symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and cramping make it difficult to enjoy daily life. People with IBS even go as far as to plan their outings around their IBS.
So how can you reduce these symptoms on your own? The low-FODMAP diet!
What is IBS?
IBS is a disorder that affects the large intestine. If you’re suffering from this disorder, you’ll notice symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, as well as diarrhea or constipation. Unfortunately, IBS is a chronic condition and those with it must find ways to manage it long-term whether through diet, stress, lifestyle, counseling, or in severe cases, medication.
While it is unknown what exactly is the cause, there are a few things that appear to be a factor including:
- Disfunction of the muscle contractions in the intestine
- Abnormalities of the nerves in the digestive system
- Intestine inflammation
- Infection by bacteria or a virus
- Abnormalities in the bacteria in the gut
Triggers seem to include stress, change in hormones, or food. Whatever the cause may be, people with IBS can help manage it with the low-FODMAP diet.
The Low-FODMAP Diet
FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These types of carbohydrates are quite prevalent in the diet, and through removing them, many suffering from IBS have reported a reduction in their symptoms. Research has shown that foods high in FODMAPs are not absorbed very well in the small intestine which in turn increases the amount of fluid in the bowel. This increase in fluid results in more gas, pain, and diarrhea, some of the key symptoms of IBS.
If you want to follow the low-FODMAP diet, you must avoid the following foods:
- Lactose & Casein: Cow’s milk, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese
- Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, garlic and onions
- Fruits: Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes, pears, blackberries, and watermelon
- Grains: Wheat and rye
In addition, stay away from sweeteners like honey and agave nectar as well as products with high fructose corn syrup and anything with soy in it. You should also stay away from the sweeteners found in sugar free gum and mints and sugar alcohols.
Foods you are able to enjoy include:
- Veggies: Alfalfa sprouts, Bean sprouts, Bell pepper, Carrot, Green beans, Bok choy, Cucumber, Lettuce, Tomato, Zucchini
- Fruits: Oranges, Grapes,Honeydew melon, Cantaloupe, Banana, Blueberries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Oranges, Strawberries
- Meats: Beef, pork, chicken, fish
- Nuts: Almonds, Macadamia, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Walnuts
- Grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats, polenta, quinoa and tapioca
Give the diet a shot and see if you can manage your symptoms too!