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Role of diet in IBS

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is the new term on the block. Let’s understand in a very crisp way about IBS. Gastrointestinal Issues can be divided into two categories – Organic GI Issues and Functional GI Issues. While organic issues are characterized by biochemical signals that have measurable physiological changes, functional GI issues have been termed as “not explainable by structural abnormalities” These issues consist of a group of lifestyle disorders which are characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and the traditional pathology is not able to deliver measurable results

In simple terms, functional GI issues are syndromes or lifestyle disorders which can be managed in life. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one such functional disorder that develops in the intestines and can cause abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, gastritis, diarrhea and a few other disturbances. 

Types of IBS

Before jumping to find out IBS treatment, let us first understand the different types of IBS – 

  • IBS-D (Diarrhea is predominant)
  • IBS-C (Constipation is predominant)
  • IBS-M (Both constipation and diarrhea persist)

Manage IBS through Nutrition

The first step to be taken to manage IBS is find the right diet

  1. The foods we consume play a significant role in our digestive health and making appropriate dietary choices can help alleviate IBS symptoms. A key approach is the implementation of a low-FODMAP diet, which involves reducing the consumption of certain fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs. These carbohydrates can trigger symptoms in individuals with IBS, and by restricting their intake, it is possible to reduce bloating, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements. However this is a technique that has worked for some cases and not all. In this diet, the intake of fermentable carbs is reduced and thus gut is less likely to experience fermentation and gas production
  2. Identification of trigger foods is really important. A lot of individuals are intolerant to lentils, while others would be to milk and some would be to some unique vegetables.
  3. Certain foods can stimulate gastric symptoms in individuals. Common trigger foods include spicy or greasy foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and high-fat foods. By identifying and avoiding these trigger foods, you can reduce the frequency and intensity of your symptoms. A lot of people are intolerant towards beans, while some cannot digest lentils. Many people are lactose intolerant, and many might be reacting badly to tea coffee. It is imperative to understand the trigger food for one’s self and then eliminate it from the diet.Hence it is very important to understand the trigger foods for an individual.. 
  4. Incorporating a well-balanced diet rich in fibre, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and probiotic-rich foods can promote digestive health. These foods help regulate bowel movements, promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, and provide essential nutrients for optimal gut function. Additionally, staying adequately hydrated is important for maintaining digestive regularity. Items like buttermilk, fennel drinks, and curd are all known to relieve IBS symptoms. Foods that are good in probiotics are essential

It’s advisable to consult a registered dietitian who can provide personalized dietary recommendations based on your specific needs and sensitivities.


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