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Foods You Can Have When Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome

While suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, you need to eat right, have a healthy lifestyle and manage stress

Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Nov 13,2021
Updated at: Nov 13,2021

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition that affects the normal bowel movement in a person. He/she experiences several symptoms from diarrhea and constipation to stomach ache, bloating, and flatulence. The severity of symptoms also differs from person to person, with some experiencing just mild symptoms, while others experiencing severe ones. Although in case of severe IBS, the patient needs to see a doctor, in those experiencing moderate symptoms, the condition can be managed by managing the diet, having a healthy lifestyle, and managing stress. As you know food is one of the aspects that can help you manage it, hence what are the food items one can have when suffering from IBS? To get an answer to this question, Onlymyhealth spoke to Rakshita Mehra, who is a nutritionist and the founder of Nutrishala. But before that, let us understand irritable bowel syndrome a bit better.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a gastrointestinal disease in which a person suffers from diarrhea or constipation. Here are some of its other symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • The sensation that the rectum is not completely empty
  • Rectal pain
  • Sometimes along with stool, there is a white discharge, which is nothing but mucus.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), the exact cause for IBS is not known. However, stress, family history of IBS, oversensitive gut nerves, and a situation in which food passes through the gut either too quickly or too slowly is believed to be linked to IBS. Since stress is one of the contributing factors, hence, “it is crucial to manage it, otherwise, the situation can aggravate,” said Rakshita.

Foods To Avoid When Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Before we look at foods one can have in the case of IBS, let us look at those that you should avoid:

  • There is a diet called the FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. The intake of foods that contain these carbs is generally reduced in IBS.
  • Caffeine, which is present in tea, coffee, and energy drinks should be avoided.
  • Do not consume alcohol.
  • Stay away from processed, fried, and fast foods. Also, skip high in sodium processed foods such as namkeen.
  • Fruits such as pears, apples, peaches, and watermelons should also be avoided as these cause flatulence.
  • You should also skip cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.
  • In some cases, lactose and gluten can trigger IBS symptoms. If this is the case, you should not have dairy products, such as milk, as well as limit your intake of wheat, which has gluten. However, this should be done if you are sensitive to these.
  • Certain pulses such as chickpeas and kidney beans, which contain skin, should be avoided as these are difficult to digest and cause flatulence.
Also read: Study: Children Who Get Asthma During Childhood Have Higher Chances of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Food To Have While Suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Now that you know the food items you must avoid, here are those that you can have:

  • Since constipation is among the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, hence, fiber intake is increased. It is recommended to have 20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber.
  • There are several lactose-free varieties of milk available in the market that you can have. For example, almond milk.
  • Then you can eat certain fruits such as oranges, grapes, and strawberries.
  • You can have vegetables other than the cruciferous ones.
  • You can also eat eggs.
  • Rice is another food option in the case of IBS.

Other than this, since your fiber intake is increased, you must have a lot of water. At least three litres of water is recommended.

Also read: Acidity Or Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Find Your Reasons And Solutions In These 5 Home Remedies

One-Day Diet Chart For When Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When dealing with IBS, you must pay close attention to what you are eating. Here is a one-day diet chart you can follow, as recommended by nutritionist Rakshita Mehra:

  • After Waking Up: 4-5 soaked almonds with a glass of water
  • Breakfast: Besan Chilla
  • Mid-Morning Snack: An orange or a cup of grapes
  • Lunch: Rice and moong dal with carrot salad and vegetables.
  • Evening: Normal or roasted makhana with a cup of turmeric milk (if it is almond milk).
  • Dinner: Quinoa khichdi with pulses, vegetables, and a bowl of curd.

Again, do remember to have at least 3 litres of water throughout the day.

Hence, irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition, in which diet and stress play a huge role. In case you experience mild symptoms, you can easily manage the condition by following certain dietary recommendations, along with having a healthy lifestyle and managing stress. There are some foods you must avoid as these can trigger IBS symptoms. These include caffeine, alcohol, certain fruits, and vegetables, among others. At the same time, certain foods can be consumed that can help you manage this condition. 

(With inputs from Rakshita Mehra, who is a nutritionist and the founder of Nutrishala)

Photo Credit: Freepik


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