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10 best and worst foods for IBS

Written by Dr.Yasser Negm, Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gut disorder. Its cause is unknown. It is a long-term problem characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. The condition affects one in five people at some point of their lives especially during times of stress. There is no cure for IBS but treatments can help a lot for relieving symptoms.

There are certain foods that are known to make IBS better or worse.

 

BEST 10:

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FoodsDescription
Oats and LinseedsGood for reducing gases.
Foods with unsaturated fatUse foods cooked with vegetable oil such as sunflower and olive oil.
Milk from plant originRice milk, oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk. Also, lactose free milk and hard cheese are good for you.
Honey substitutesAs honey itself can make things worse. They include maple syrup, molasses and golden syrup.
Tofu sweetenersSucrose, glucose, and artificial sweeteners not ending in “ol”.
Fruits low in FODMAPsBananas, berries, oranges and grapes are good for you because they are low in FODMAPS (carbohydrates which aggravate IBS symptoms)
Gluten free bread and cerealsThe healthier alternatives of bread for digestion.
Vegetables low in FODMAPsRice, carrots, lettuce, olives, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes as examples.
HerbsNot all of them. The well-known beneficial herbs include basil, chili, coriander, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
WaterThe best of the best. Keeps your stools soft and easy to move.

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WORST 10:

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FoodsDescription
Tea and coffeeYou don’t need to stop them completely but restricting them to once or twice a day helps.
BeansIncrease bloating and cramps.
Fruits high in FODMAPsFODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that make IBS worse. Examples include apples, cherries, peaches and nectarines.
Vegetables high in FODMAPsExamples include peas, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Foods containing resistant starchDifficult to digest and get fermented in the colon with huge gas production, e.g. processed foods , ready meals, foods cooked and left to cool (such as pasta salads).
Foods high in saturated animal fatSuch as butter, ghee, pastries and cakes.
Artificial sweetenersHigh FODMAP (especially if contains sorbitol).
Foods high in lactoseE.g. milk, ice cream, cream cheeses. They are high in disaccharide carbohydrates (FODMAP).
AlcoholYour fellows with IBS report significant improvement after cutting it down.
Fizzy DrinksProduce lots of gases. You don’t really want any extra of those. Do you?

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