The anti-irritable bowel syndrome eating plan
Around 10-20 per cent of us suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, so weve devised the IBS diet to boost sufferers' health and wellbeing
“Sprinting to the bathroom with an upset tummy is no fun, and if you also suffer from severe bloating after eating, or pains in your abdomen, it’s possible you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),” reveals Helen Foster, author of 'Beat The Bloat' (Hamlyn, £6.99). “The exact cause is unknown, but it’s definitely exacerbated by lifestyle factors, such as stress and food intolerance.”
This Anti-IBS Plan excludes the most common trigger foods – dairy and wheat – to give your body a chance to recover, while you establish which foods worsen your symptoms. You must take a multivitamin while on this diet (try Centrum, £3.79 for 30 tablets; www.Boots.com). Probiotic supplements (Mega Probiotic-ND, £17.95 for 60 capsules; www.victoriahealth.com) may help reduce the symptoms.
● Eat little and often and chew each mouthful at least 20 times. "Big meals overload your gut, which increases the chance that food will ferment in your bowel, creating gas - and excess gas is one of the problems that causes the pain of IBS," says nutritionist Maria Griffiths (www.familynutritioninpractice.com).
● Keeping a food intake diary is a good way to identify what triggers your IBS. Also, note your mood and work schedule, so that you can easily see how lifestyle factors are affecting you.
● Know your fibre. Fibre comes in two varieties: soluble fibre (in oats and pulses) is known to soften your stools, thus helping IBS sufferers. But insoluble fibre (bran and wholegrain bread) acts as an irritant on your gut.
● Limit your fruit intake. Many IBS sufferers have been found to be intolerant to fructose, a fruit sugar.
● Drink plenty of water. "If you are dehydrated, your body absorbs water from stools, which makes them harder to pass and can aggravate IBS pain," says nutritionist therapist Elizabeth Harfleet (www.wellbeing-nutrition.com).
● Exercise daily. Brisk walking helps relieve stress and stimulates healthy contractions in your intestines, preventing constipation.
● Try Solgar Caricol (£14.75 for 20 sachets; www.solgar.co.uk), which supports digestive wellbeing and gastrointestinal health.
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