Best and worst foods to eat when managing IBS

These foods will help you manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can require a strict diet. Those who suffer from the condition can face cramping, diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating the “wrong thing.” And IBS is not rare: According to Harvard Medical School, it’s a condition that affects one in 10 Americans each year. And UCLA Health reported that up to 75% of total IBS cases go undiagnosed each year.

“Although the causes of IBS are not known, ongoing research points to a gut-brain connection,” UCLA Health reported. “This may occur via certain chemicals within the gut, which act as signaling agents between the intestines and the brain. There is also evidence that having had a bowel infection that didn’t fully resolve may play a role in developing IBS. Newer research is looking into potential links between IBS and specific microbiota within the gut.”

Food groupEat more of these foodsEat less of these foods
DairyLactose-free milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, lactose-free yogurt; hard cheeses such as feta and brieCow’s milk, yogurt, pudding, custard, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and mascarpone
FruitBananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges and strawberriesApples, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes, pears and watermelon
VegetablesBamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, spring onions and turnipsArtichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, garlic, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms and snow peas
ProteinBeef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs and tofuChickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and soy products
Nuts/seedsAlmonds, macadamia, peanuts, pine nuts and walnuts (limit to 10-15 of each)
GrainOat, oat bran, rice bran, gluten-free pasta, such as rice, corn, quinoa, white rice, corn flour and quinoaWheat, rye and added fiber (such as inulin)

Treatment of IBS requires lifestyle changes. While it sometimes includes medication, stress management is often prescribed as well. Those suffering from IBS must also be aware of any foods that worsen their symptoms. According to Harvard Medical School, the low FODMAP diet is a great way to curb IBS symptoms.

The low “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols” diet is low on certain lactose, fructose, fructans, polylols and other foods, while being high in certain fruits, vegetables, proteins, nuts, seeds and grains.

“Researchers discovered that the small intestine does not absorb FODMAPs very well,” Harvard Medical School reported. “They increase the amount of fluid in the bowel. They also create more gas. That’s because bacteria in the colon they are easily fermented by colonic bacteria. The increased fluid and gas in the bowel leads to bloating and changes in the speed with which food is digested. This results in gas, pain and diarrhea. Eating less of these types of carbohydrates should decrease these symptoms.”