Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, is a disorder of the colon which causes it to be more sensitive than normal. Any mild stimulus can cause it to react and get inflamed, leading to bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. If you have ever had to deal with IBS, you will understand how frustrating it is having uncomfortable symptoms that just pop up for no apparent reason. There is no one food that causes IBS, and it’s unfortunately not something you can just take a pill for. However, you can make a few dietary and lifestyle changes that make managing IBS easier and reduce symptoms dramatically.
Eating habits and foods that accentuate IBS symptoms are not the same for everyone. You need to pay close attention to your body and see what behavior or foods upset it. Here are some things to identify and resolve to help you heal:
- No Irregular Eating: Skipping meals and then overloading your body with one large meal at the end of the day can put a large burden on your digestive system and colon. Instead, try to stick to an eating schedule by evenly spacing out your meals to ensure they are smaller and more frequent.
- Identify Food Triggers: The best way to find out what is causing your IBS is to pay close attention to what your body is telling you after every meal. If it will make it easier, keep a food diary and write down how you feel after every meal for a week. It might sound strange, but a week later you will see a pattern that certain foods upset your tummy more than others. Cutting just a few foods out from your diet can completely erase any symptoms of IBS. Some common foods are beans, dairy, wheat, excess fruit, and chocolate.
- Load Up on Good Bacteria: The balance of good bacteria in our gut can have a huge affect on how our digestion works. Try taking a probiotic supplement or eat foods full of good bacteria, such as yogurt.
- Peppermint Tea: As much as we all hate to hear it, tea and coffee can actually worsen IBS symptoms for a lot of people. Making the change to peppermint tea instead will relax your muscles, including your gut muscles, and can improve and ease the digestion of fats, which will cause less cramps and bloating.
- Stress Less: Have you ever felt physically sick to your stomach because you were in an unhappy or stressful situation? This is because there are more neurons in your gut than your spinal cord. When you are stressed out, this is translated into signals that are sent to your gut that cause it to function abnormally. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or managing your work and personal life better, try to relieve your stress and you will be surprised how much your tummy will thank you.
- Keep Moving: We need to move our bodies everyday for our organs to function optimally. This includes our metabolism, circulation, nervous system, and of course our digestion. If your body is sluggish, your gut will be too. A well regulated stomach belongs within a fit and healthy body.