Take Control of IBS: 3 Diet Strategies to Alleviate Symptoms

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April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS is a highly unpleasant chronic condition that affects a person’s lower GI (gastrointestinal) tract. If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from IBS, adjusting your diet can be a game-changer. Start by keeping tabs on which foods set off discomfort, and remember to share your findings with your doctor. While IBS triggers can vary from person to person, there are certain foods notorious for worsening symptoms. 

Person clutches stomach in pain.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests the following foods to eat with irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Increase fiber intake. Focus on incorporating sources of soluble fiber, such as oats, bananas, carrots and psyllium husk, into your diet. Other high-fiber options include whole-bran cereals, cooked prunes, dried figs, baked beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili with beans and trail mix.
  • Avoid gluten. Avoiding gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley and rye may be beneficial for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Try opting for gluten-free alternatives like quinoa, rice and gluten-free oats.
  • Follow a low-FODMAP (fermentable fructans, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet. Following a special diet known as the low-FODMAP diet may provide relief for some individuals with IBS. This diet for IBS involves temporarily restricting certain high-FODMAP foods, such as onions, garlic, wheat and fruits such as apples, cherries, nectarines, pears and watermelon, or juice containing any of these fruits, then gradually reintroducing them to identify specific triggers.

Because symptoms like stomach pain and indigestion are associated with a number of conditions, it’s important to always talk with your doctor to get a clear diagnosis and targeted treatment.

Digestive health issues, like IBS, can be painful, complex and may hold you back from doing the things you love. At Overlake’s Digestive Health Institute, our team of digestive disease specialists will work together to get to the root of your symptoms and create a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

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