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Best Foods for IBS

Best Food for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a term used to describe a cluster of gastrointestinal symptoms with no clear cause.  

Many factors can contribute to the same symptoms of abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, issues with digestion, constipation, or diarrhea. The frequency of these symptoms combined with bowel movement appearances helps doctors prescribe the appropriate treatments. IBS is chronic, with symptoms appearing and resolving at various intervals. 

By measuring symptoms when they appear, doctors can hone in on the specific elements of a patient’s condition to help them manage these flare-ups.

There are a few different subtypes of IBS, with slightly different symptoms: 

  • IBS-C is characterized by constipation, and when a patient does pass their stool, it appears tough and knobby.
  • IBS-D, on the other hand, is characterized by diarrhea, with stool appearing watery. 
  • Mixed bowel movements typically indicate IBS-M.  

How Does Diet Affect IBS? 

As IBS mainly affects the digestive tract, diet plays a pivotal role in managing symptoms. 

Specific foods can benefit IBS patients, however these may differ between subgroups. There are also foods widely known to cause flare-ups.

Foods triggering an abnormal bowel movement like constipation, diarrhea, or any of the  associated abdominal pain or cramping are called “trigger foods.” Keeping track of which foods set off your IBS flare-up can help manage your symptoms.  

When receiving a diagnosis of IBS, many doctors will recommend altering your diet. This can be a gradual process of noting which types of foods seem harmless, and which foods trigger your symptoms. 

Generally, many clinicians encourage patients to consume foods with soluble fiber (known to be easier to digest and pass faster) and to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and fatty or sugary food. Spicy foods, carbonated drinks, and other foods high in insoluble fiber should be avoided. 

The Low FODMAP Diet 

The low FODMAP diet is one of the best dietary regimes for IBS patients. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and poly-ols; all hard-to-digest sugars. Avoiding these foods can ease digestion and help prevent IBS symptoms. 

For the same reasons, many patients with IBS also remove gluten from their diet, even without suffering from celiac disease or sensitivity. Examples of different foods that follow these guidelines are listed below. 

Oat Bran 

Oat bran

Oat bran is a grain combining high nutritional value and protein count and is additionally gluten-free (check your specific brand to ensure it is processed in a gluten-free facility). 

Oat bran be used to replace other non-IBS compliant grains in baking, is a great source of nutrients and antioxidants, and due to its concentrated amount of beta-glucan (a soluble fiber), it is especially recommended for patients suffering from IBS-C, in which constipation plays a large role in flare-ups.

Berries & Bananas 

Berries and bananas

In addition to the high nutritional value of berries and bananas, they are also low in FODMAP sugars, making them perfect for IBS patients. Bananas in particular contain the important electolye potassium, which can be reduced in IBS patients due to water loss from diarrhea. 

While patients with IBS-D are advised to eat these fruits, this subtype should not consume citrus fruit, as the citric acid may cause cramping. 

Lean Meats 

Lean meats

Lean meats, especially skinless chicken, are recommended for those with IBS as a source of protein that’s relatively easier to digest than red meat. Those suffering from IBS-D and IBS-M generally should veer away from fat-filled meals such as red meat, or the fat that accumulates on meat when it cooks, as it may cause diarrhea.

Leafy Greens & Vegetables (Spinach, Lettuce, Kale) 

Leafy greens

Here’s where it gets complicated. For IBS-C patients, green leafy vegetables are a great source of fiber, protein, and nutrients. However, this may irritate the digestive tract of IBS-D patients, as it is hard to digest, causing diarrhea. More easily digestible vegetables like boiled potatoes are preferred for an IBS-D patient. 

Tips for Managing IBS 

Besides managing your diet, stress relief practices are also helpful in preventing excess gut inflammation and other common symptoms of IBS. Meditation has been shown to lower stress levels by lowering one’s resting heart rate and even cortisol levels in the blood, which can cause swelling and bloating in IBS. 

Speaking to a mental health expert has also proven to be effective in lowering stress levels and managing symptoms on a day-to-day basis. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, known as CBT, has also shown much promise in reducing symptoms of IBS by reducing stress stored in the body. 




This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. The content provided is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. The claims made regarding specific products in this blog are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.


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