Food has a direct relationship with whatever causes irritable bowel syndrome. This is not exactly a shocker, given that irritable bowel syndrome is a condition of the digestive tract, the place where our body processes the food that we eat. Everything that goes into our mouth and down our stomach will affect how our digestive system works. So, when we make changes to our diet, these changes will have an impact on the way our body digests food, especially in terms of chemical interactions.
In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, however, the effect of food in our system is not just felt on the chemical level. That is because IBS is more of a functional disorder that does not manifest itself through physical abnormalities. The fact that it has no physical manifestation is largely the reason why nothing much is known about the nature of IBS or what causes it. It is also the reason why the symptoms of IBS are mostly subjective and are thus dealt with through subjective treatments.
Despite the lack of knowledge regarding IBS, medical practitioners have nonetheless developed a treatment plan that will help IBS patients deal with the condition. It is more of a hit-and-miss treatment plan, but it does assist in removing the factors that trigger IBS attacks and in reducing IBS symptoms. This treatment plan involves going on a diet that eliminates food items known to be symptom-triggers and then replacing or supplementing them with food that stabilizes the digestive tract.
Food is not the direct cause of IBS. Nonetheless, their effect on IBS can definitely be felt. That is why it is important for an IBS patient to develop a customized IBS diet, avoiding some food types and substituting others in their place. The right combination of food types can certainly do a lot in reducing symptoms and developing a more functional digestive tract.
Foods To Avoid
Trigger foods are, as the name suggest, food items to be avoided by IBS patients. They make the digestive tract become tense and work abnormally. Some trigger foods are high in fat but low in fiber. Examples are creams, oils, poultry skins, coconut milk, and fried food. IBS patients need to avoid fatty food because they reduce the rate by which the stomach digests food. Thus, fat allows intestinal bacteria more time to attack the sugars in digested food, which in turn raises the risk of producing high levels of intestinal gas. The presence of huge amounts of intestinal gas triggers symptoms like bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Foods with high levels of caffeine are also considered trigger foods. They include chocolate, carbonated drinks and coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant and can irritate the digestive tract, leading to symptoms being triggered and complicating IBS.
One food type that all IBS patients, especially those suffering from constipation-dominant IBS, must include in their diet is fiber-rich food. Constipation happens when the stool becomes too hard or too loose and difficult to move. What fiber does is to make it easier for stool to move more smoothly through the bowels. IBS patients can get their share of dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole grain bread, peas, raisins, figs, soybeans and others.