3 factors that contribute to IBS and how to tackle them
The scourge of IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is extremely common in Ireland. It’s a catch all description for your digestive system not working at its best. Symptoms can vary from bloating, pain that is relieved by passing of wind, colicky pain, constipation and diarrhoea. It can also alternate between constipation and diarrhoea.
It can be a tough condition to pin down as one of its defining characteristics is changeability. It can be fine one day and bad the next. Sometimes it can seem like a particular food makes it worse. Then the next day that same food can have no effect at all. The main contributing factors are stress, lifestyle and diet.
- Try meditation, yoga, gentle exercise, acupuncture, massage reflexology. Of all these, meditation is the most cost effective as once you’ve been shown the ropes, it is yours to practice at will.
Always discuss any dietary changes with your Doctor
- Eat smaller portions more often
- Reduce grain based carbohydrate particularly the refined white kind. The grains that are generally best tolerated are brown rice, quinoa and oats. Try to increase the vegetable portion and reduce the grain portion of each meal.
- Remove sugar. This includes foods that have sugar added to them. This can often include foods that are marketed to you as healthy. If the company can afford to mass market the product, eye it with sugar suspicion. Remember, maltose, fructose dextrose, glucose, syrup, corn syrup, malt syrup and sucrose are all types of refined sugar.
- Remove alcohol. Alcohol is high in refined sugars and is therefore the enemy of the IBS sufferer.
- Increase the coloured vegetable carbohydrates in each meal. Vegetables should be mostly cooked and avoid vegetables that are usually flatulent. e.g. peas, beans, chickpeas, cabbage, onion and garlic.
Some supplements that you can safely add to your routine
- Fennel & Peppermint tea
- Probiotics should be introduced gradually. More is not necessarily better. I tell my clients to start with half of what is recommended by the brand and then increase gradually to the full recommended dosage.