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December 11, 2017  |  Login
 
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
 
by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

Diet

The most reliable way to calm an irritable bowel is to adhere to a good diet. You may find that the following suggestions advocate a drastic change from your present way of eating, but the difference in the way you feel will be worth it.

Even when eating the most healthful of foods, however, you must be careful not to eat just before going to bed.

Recommended Food

For IBS sufferers, a high-fiber diet is an absolute must. Although fiber may not sound appealing to you if you have diarrhea, it will actually regulate your bowels and soothe your digestive tract. Your diet should be based on high-fiber foods, especially whole grains, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, and legumes. You should slowly increase the amount of fiber-rich foods in your diet so that your body can adjust.

Drink a glass of clean water every two hours to ease the transit of waste matter and to keep your whole body functioning smoothly.

Irritable bowel syndrome can deplete your intestines of friendly bacteria. Eat a cultured product such as live yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut every day.

Food to Avoid

The first step in treating IBS is to determine whether your problem is actually an allergy to food. See food allergies, and follow the elimination diet there. If you can trace your symptoms to a particular food or foods, make it a priority to avoid those allergens. Keep a close eye on how dairy products affect you; lactose is often a trigger for IBS-like symptoms. Wheat and sugar products are common offenders as well.

Saturated, hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated fats disturb the intestines and are hard to digest. Stay away from red meat, butter, margarine, and fried foods.

Avoid mucus-forming foods that encourage toxins to accumulate. Foods that promote mucus include all dairy products, fried and processed foods, refined flours, and chocolate.

Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and tobacco all irritate the stomach lining, so eliminate them from your diet. Many of these items also contribute to stress.

Although a high intake of fiber is a necessity, steer clear of wheat bran. It often triggers allergies in IBS sufferers, and because the fiber is insoluble, it can propel waste matter through the intestines faster than is comfortable. Ground flaxseeds are a better choice.

Avoid ice-cold drinks, which inhibit digestion and may cause cramping.

Recent research shows that many people with IBS are sensitive to the sweetener fructose. It should be avoided or limited in the diet.

Detoxification

A vegetable juice fast lasting three days is a good way to eliminate toxins that have built up as a result of improper bowel functioning; do this fast once a month for three consecutive months.

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