Irritable bowel syndrome is an embarrassing and debilitating condition that affects 10-15% of the United States Population.
Many people with IBS don’t know where to start in order to feel better, but fortunately, there are things you can do!
A good nutritionist can help you navigate the many pitfalls of diet with IBS. While some things can be figured out on your own, a qualified nutrition professional can help you feel better faster.
IBS is a complicated disorder and can manifest differently for different people. Nutritionists are trained to look at your diet and lifestyle to help you figure out where to make changes for better gastrointestinal health.
If you are interested in a consultation, contact me here.
Here are my top 5 ways to feel better with IBS naturally.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the food you eat plays a direct role in the way you feel, especially in how your stomach feels!
Many foods that seem healthy and benign might actually be causing you gas, intestinal pain, diarrhea or constipation.
Elimination diets are diets which remove all the most common gut irritants from the diet and then add them back in slowly.
These kinds of diets can be undertaken on your own, but a nutritionist trained in elimination diets can help you step by step to ensure you get the best results. I also recommend that all my clients have a food sensitivity test done, because I have found food sensitivities to cause IBS symptoms in most of my clients.
The most common culprits? Dairy is by far the most common and can hide in many items under it’s protein form of whey or casein. Gluten, eggs, coffee, spicy foods and many others can also be triggers for symptoms.
Besides some of the other diet changes listed in this article, the main change for those with IBS should be to a whole foods diet. That means eating as few as possible foods that come pre-packaged and processed. Foods like chips, desserts, dairy products, cereal, and candy reduce the amount of healthy fruits and vegetables, fiber, and nutrients in the diet and are inflammatory to the digestive tract.
Switching to a diet of fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), meats and seafood, and healthy oils like coconut oil, pastured lard and tallow, olive and avocado oil, will make a big difference in how you feel with IBS. Plus you’ll be healthier too!
Stress is a known trigger for IBS. Many people with IBS get caught in a vicious loop where fear of having symptoms can cause symptoms.
That’s why it’s so important to include a mindfulness routine in daily life.
Yoga, meditation, journaling, quiet walks, or other solitary, peaceful activities are very helpful for IBS. In fact, yoga and meditation in particular have both been shown to reduce symptoms of IBS in people over time.
Stress also inhibits digestion, so it’s very important to be in a calm state of mind when you eat so that your body can properly coat your food with the necessary enzymes.
Edit 7/5/2020: As I’ve gone through and re-edited this article in light of what I now know, a rigorous gut healing supplement protocol and elimination diet is by far the most effective way to manage or eliminate IBS in most clients. This focuses first on discerning trigger foods and leaky gut and then addressing that with diet and a supplement routine meant to improve the leaky gut. The supplements I use in practice are not available online because of their higher potency but the recommendations below have been updated to give you the best bang for your buck if addressing these things on your own.
By far the most important supplement for IBS is a quality probiotic. This is one I recommend. Starting it slow will help prevent some of the symptoms of die off that can mimic IBS.
Colostrum supplementation is also very helpful for calming the gut. I would also recommend a mucous builder a little further in the process and prebiotics once they can be tolerated as well.
The key with IBS is starting SLOW with supplements and using a very strict elimination protocol first to create the calmest environment possible.
Digestive Enzymes can help in those early days too, especially if you find that even though you are eating super healthy, you seem to have trouble digesting all the higher fiber foods.
Peppermint oil is known to reduce abdominal pain in those with diarrhea dominant IBS. Here’s a good peppermint oil.
Remember that the hardest changes to make are usually the ones with the biggest impact. Supplements are an important part of the process but they won’t get you very far if you don’t also approach diet seriously.