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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

What foods can trigger IBS?

Hi,

Do you know any of typical trigger foods/drinks that can cause an attack of IBS so that I can avoid them.

It's starting to really get me down now and I can't seem to put my finger on a particular thing that's causing it. Also, I'm feeling very lethargic and can't get motivated to do anything! I'm not an unhealthy person and I don't eat a great deal of junk food so I'm wondering why I feel the way I do! Any suggestions?

A.

Our expert says...

IBS symptoms arise through abnormal spasms of the gut wall which can be related to stress. They can include abdominal cramps, bloating, wind and alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

Different IBS sufferers will find different foods caus problems for them , so a little trial and error is needed in finding a regimen that best eases individual symptoms. However the following tips seem to help the majority of sufferers:

Eat Regularly. You may find large meals overstimulate the gut and that eating little and often. with a focus on starchy foods (e.g. potatoes, pasta and rice) is better.

Increase Dietary Fibre. Eating more fibre helps keep the colon mildly distended which reduces the risk of it going into spasm. A goal to aim for is at least three to five servings of fruit and vegetables daily, together with higher fibre versions of cereals, bread, rice and pasta.

Avoid Offending Foods. IBS sufferers don't seem to suffer from true food allergies more often than non-sufferers. But they may be more likely to experience intolerances to food such as spices, wheat and milk that result in intestinal discomfort. The best way to be sure about which foods upset you is to keep a detailed diet diary which can be discussed with a health professional. Caffeine sometimes causes flare-ups, so watch out how many coffees you drink.

Reduce Fat Intake. Some IBS sufferers find fat acts as a stimulus to bowel contractions so need to avoid very greasy meals that might send them rushing to the toilet.

Supplements that may help include probiotic drinks such as Actimel, Peppermint oil to ease flatulence and cramp, and psyllium husk which bulks out the bowel in constipated sufferers aiding bowel movement. Use a cautious approach to start with however as a particular sensitivity to soluble fibre may cause bloating.

Disclaimer
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