Irritable bowel syndrome or otherwise known as the intestinal disorder is a condition suffered by nearly 20 percent of the world’s population. The condition is more prevalent amid women than men and its visible symptoms are also different among the two. Physicians and dieticians recommend that eating a healthy diet which comprises of a wide variety of nutritious foods can significantly help in reducing its effects. However, certain foods can trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and turn one’s condition into a serious one.
Different people witness different types of symptoms, and hence, there’s no particular list of off-limit foods. But, at the same time, avoiding consumption of some of the most commonly known food-triggers of irritable bowel syndrome can significantly help in improving your condition.
Below mentioned is a list of eight foods which you must avoid if in case you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Fiber is a healthy supplement for the body and adds a nutritious bulk to your diet. However, fiber tolerance is different amid different people. While many may react well to insoluble fiber, some people are unable to digest it and hence, the food type causes the onset of irritable bowel syndrome in them. Instead, focus on consuming more soluble fiber.
Foods which contain soluble fiber include:
- Grains – oatmeal, barley, etc.
- Root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Fruits – mangos, oranges, berries and grapefruit
- Legumes – peas, etc.
Dairy products are highly problematic foods in case of irritable bowel syndrome for two primary reasons. Firstly, they contain certain fats which can significantly increase the chances of diarrhea. In such a case, a person must switch to low-fat or no-fat dairy products to not only subside the symptoms but, cure the problem as well.
Secondly, many individuals who are lactose intolerant and witness irritable bowel syndrome symptoms must avoid the intake of any kind of dairy products. This is because the ingredients of dairy products may cause the problem to trigger further and worsen your symptoms. Instead, consider switching to dairy alternatives like rice milk, soy cheese, etc.
Fried foods are a staple in many countries of the world. While moderation is the key to consuming these foods, the presence of high-fat content makes it hard for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome to digest them and hence, face consequences. Most dieticians state that frying of food typically changes its chemical composition, making it more difficult for the body to digest. Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome must consider switching to healthy cooking options like grilling and baking to avoid their condition from deteriorating.
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are great sources of fiber and protein. But, they can be fatal for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. While beans and legumes are known to increase bulk in stool and help in easing constipation, they can also cause bloating, cramps and increase gas. If you’re someone suffering from with irritable bowel syndrome, it’s best to add beans to your list of foods to avoid.
Tea and coffee are like energy-boosters for most of the people out there. However, like any other caffeinated drink, even tea and coffee have a stimulating effect on the intestines and can cause irritable bowel syndrome to trigger. If you need an energy boost, consider having a small snack bar or going for a quick walk than consuming a caffeinated drink.
The introduction of processed foods has evidently eased the lives of many. However, not many of us put a lot of efforts in knowing what these processed foods are many up of. People with irritable bowel syndrome must avoid these foods, as most of them contain preservatives and additives which can trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and even worsen one’s condition. A major chunk of processed foods sold in the market today is also often fried or high in fat content. If possible, prepare fresh meals at home as they are a better alternative option to buying and consuming processed foods.
Alcoholic beverages are a big “No” for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. Beer is the riskiest drink among all because it often contains gluten, which is a must-avoid-food in case of irritable bowel syndrome. Wines and other mixed drinks, on the other hand, usually contain sugar, which again, is known to trigger the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages can significantly help in reducing these symptoms. If you wish to have a drink, it’s best to have a gluten-free beer or a drink which is mixed with plain seltzer and does not contain any kind of artificial sweeteners.
Garlic and onion
Onion and garlic serve as great flavoring agents in your food and come with a variety of health benefits as well. But, in the case of irritable bowel syndrome, they can be difficult for the body to digest, causing severe gas and cramps. Adding them in moderation or avoiding them for a while is highly recommended.
Foods to Eat Instead
Many dieticians and medical practitioners suggest that individuals with irritable bowel syndrome must follow the FODMAP diet. FODMAP or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols diet typically focus on reducing or eliminating fermentable and short-chain carbohydrates from one’s diet, which helps in dealing with irritable bowel syndrome and improving one’s overall condition.
If you choose the FODMAP diet, restrict the consumption of the following foods:
- Dairy products
- Products which contain high fructose corn syrup
- Additional added fiber
- Vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, and artichokes
- Chickpeas and lentils
Foods that you must add to your FODMAP diet include:
- Lactose-free milk or dairy-free alternatives
- Cheese like soy cheese, feta or brie
- Fruits like cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries, and honeydew melon
- Vegetables like carrots, turnips, cucumbers, lettuce, bokchoi, potatoes, and eggplant
- Proteins like chicken, fish, beef, and tofu
The Bottom Line
It is important to understand that different people have different digestion capacity and different food triggers. While some people with irritable bowel syndrome may be able to tolerate certain food triggers, many others may not.
If you too are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it’s best to seek assistance from your physician and get tested against the above-listed food triggers to avoid fatal consequences.