Ask The Expert
March 02, 2011
Simple dietary changes can often help manage IBS symptoms. Eating a well balanced diet full of whole foods (rather than processed foods) can help manage your symptoms and prevent further weight loss.
Small, frequent meals throughout the day will help you better tolerate your food and maintain a healthy weight. Include these foods in your diet:
Be sure to add high fiber foods to your diet slowly. These include fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, peanuts and more) and whole grains. They are an important part of a healthy diet, but they can cause bloating and discomfort at first. Try adding a little extra fiber every few days and back off a bit if you are uncomfortable.
Try these tips. They can help you better digest these foods and reduce discomfort:
Also, avoid trigger foods to reduce flair-ups and discomfort. Triggers can include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, wheat, spicy foods, high fat foods, concentrated fruit juices, and "artificial" sweeteners.
If you follow these suggestions and still have IBS symptoms, you may want to try cutting out dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream). Dairy products can sometimes trigger IBS symptoms. But you still need calcium, protein, and other nutrients found in dairy. First, try replacing milk and cheese with yogurt, which is easier to digest. If you need to completely cut dairy from your diet, replace it with Lactaid milk or other fortified milk substitutes (such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk) or low-fat, lactose free cheeses.
Finally, eat slowly, chew well, and avoid drinking from straws and chewing gum. These can all help reduce the production of gas and bloating.
And it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially with your fiber.
*If avoiding dairy, have an alternative such as 1 oz lactose free Cabot cheese, handful of nuts, hard boiled egg