Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the worst - your stomach aches, your energy levels deplete, you're always running to the bathroom (or not going at all) and it just seems as if no matter what you eat, nothing agrees with you.
While everyone's body reacts differently to different foods, if you've been diagnosed with IBS, there are likely to cause trouble. According to Dr Craig Golding, you should cut out or limit your intake of the below five foods to help manage your symptoms of the condition.
#1: Lactose-rich dairy products
If you thought it was only milk and yoghurt that are culprits of IBS symptoms, you’re very wrong! Dairy products that are high in lactose, such as sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are even more aggravating to your gut. Swap out your go-to dairy products for nut milk like almond, coconut or hemp milk and hard cheese like cheddar and cashew cheese.
#2: High-fructose vegetables
Fructans are a carbohydrates that most IBS sufferers find it extremely difficult to digest. The result? Gas and abnormal bowel movements. Many cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, are naturally high in fructans and therefore problematic for most people. Asparagus, leeks, onion, artichokes and garlic are lesser-known culprits. You should avoid these vegetables and opt for spinach, carrots, tomato, squash, yam, zucchini and eggplant, which are all typically “safe”, instead.
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#3: Sugar-rich fruits
All fruits contain sugar or fructose, but some pack more than others. As an IBS sufferer, you know how much havoc sugar can wreak on your gut health. Fruits that are especially high in fructose include apples, pears, watermelon, fruit juices and dry fruit. Swap these out for low-sugar options like bananas, oranges, grapes, berries, lemons and limes.
#4: Beans and legumes
While beans and legumes are both remarkable sources of fibre because they’re abundant in indigestible carbohydrates, they’re not good for sensitive digestive systems. Soybeans, lentils and chickpeas can all cause problems. Luckily, there’s a great alternative – quinoa. Though it technically isn’t a bean or a legume, it’s a fantastic, satisfying replacement. If you like, you can also try buckwheat, amaranth or millet.
#5: Processed foods
Processed foods with artificial sweeteners ending in “ol”, such as sorbitol, xylitol or mannitol, are naturally high in polyols, which aren’t great for your gut. Funnily enough, polyols are also found naturally in mushrooms. If you often reach for sugar-rich processed foods to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop immediately! To sweeten your foods and beverages, try a drizzle of maple syrup or coconut sugar.
It’s important to remember that IBS is an individual syndrome. It can take a lot of trial and error to identify the foods that are personal triggers, so if after eliminating the above five foods from your diet you’re still experiencing tummy troubles, you should consult your doctor for tailored advice.
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