IBS – Five Foods to Avoid

When you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eating can be difficult.  IBS is also not a “one size fits all” disorder, so there are no hard and fast rules about foods you should or shouldn’t eat.  In general, eating a variety of healthy, low-fat foods in moderation is recommended.  However, there may be certain foods more likely to trigger your symptoms than others. Here are five foods you should avoid if you have IBS:

  1. Coffee – It wakes you up on the morning and gets things moving. But if you have IBS, it can actually over-stimulate your intestines, causing diarrhea.  Blame the caffeine and be sure to avoid all types of caffeinated beverages. If you need to jump-start your morning, try doing some quick exercises like push-ups or planks or take a brisk walk around the block.
  2. Milk– Milk can be problematic for two reasons. First, full fat milk can increase diarrhea. Switch to low-fat or non-fat varieties to minimize symptoms. Second, many IBS sufferers are lactose intolerant, meaning you may be unable to digest the lactose in milk products.  If this is the case, try yogurt with live cultures, hard cheeses and soymilk as alternatives.
  3. Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and even Brussels sprouts can be bad news if you suffer from IBS. Cruciferous vegetables such as these can cause inflammation and incredible gas pain. That doesn’t mean you should skip all veggies.  Instead eat eggplant, green beans, celery, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, yam, zucchini, and squash.
  4. Insoluble Fiber– A healthy amount of fiber is usually a good thing.  It adds bulk to the diet and is widely available in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. However, fiber also aggravates diarrhea. Eating too much insoluble fiber in the form of grains may cause you more trips to the bathroom than you’d like.  If you suffer from constipation, insoluble fiber may bring relief, but can also leave you feeling bloated.  Instead, try to eat soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables.
  5. Fried Foods – Who doesn’t love a plate of French fries and a juicy burger? People who suffer from IBS, that’s who.  The high-fat content of fried foods wreaks havoc on their GI systems.  Avoid them if you can, and exercise moderation if you can’t.  Many restaurants offer grilled alternatives to their fried dishes.