When it comes to bowels movements, it means one of 3 things for IBS sufferers. Constipation, diarrhea or a mixture of the two!
That overwhelming sense of dread that most IBS symptom sufferers will have experienced at sometime pours fear into the mind as you realize the toilet is further away than you think! The sweat is starting to drip from your forehead, the pain, the griping and the sprint to the toilet. Memories of the scene in ‘Along came Sally’ spring to mind! The explosion is short term relief as you stagger from the toilet feeling weak, drained and a little delicate.
The good news is that after years of personal and clinic experience I have formulated a plan to drastically reduce these explosions and today I am sharing a few of my bowel health secrets with you so that you can feel more confident about treating your IBS.
Top 3 Diarrhoea Inducing Foods
- Dairy – the lactose (sugar) and/or casein (protein) found in dairy can potentially be very aggravating on the digestive tract. Dairy is mucous producing and can interfere with absorption on vitamins and minerals
- Gluten – most of us can tolerate some gluten but for sensitive individuals it can be extremely irritating to the digestive tract potentially causing bloating, wind and pain
- Soy – processed soy products such as milk, tofu and yoghurt can be problematic for certain individuals and reducing or omitting soy can be hugely beneficial in helping with relief of IBS
Top Diarrhoea Halting Tools
- Slippery Elm – this ancient powders main principle ingredient is mucilage which helps to bulk up the feces and slows down evacuation
- Rest & Digest mode – for our digestive system to work effectively we need to be in para-sympathetic mode or rest & digest. This allows the digestive organs to work synergistically and normalizing transit time
- Charcoal – a natural capsule which can be used to slow down peristalsis and to form a better bulk
Constipating Foods to Avoid
- Chocolate – The exact mechanism isn’t known, but it is thought that the large amount of fat in chocolate can slow the digestion process. It is thought to slow down muscle contractions (peristalsis) and thus foods moving through the bowel.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant that can make have more bowel movements. But if you’re dehydrated, you may find that the caffeine in coffee, black tea, and chocolate only makes you more constipated.
- Red Meat – Eating a large portion of red meat can make you constipated. It’s high in fat, so it takes longer for the digestive tract to process it. It also has tough protein fibres that can be difficult for your stomach to digest. Also, red meat is rich in iron, which can be constipating.
Foods to Eat if Constipated
- Prunes – Prunes were grandma’s remedy. They could be yours, too. Prunes and prune juice have been used for many years to help relieve constipation.
- Kiwi Fruit – The luscious green flesh of the kiwi may be just what the doctor ordered. One medium kiwi has about 2.5 grams of fibre and lots of vitamins and nutrients that are important for good health, including your intestines
- Pears – Pears contain some of the most fibre, King says. Be sure to eat the skin to get the most fibre you can. With the skin, an average pear provides 5 to 6 grams of dietary fibre that you need to regulate your digestive system.
Remember that the gastro-intestinal tract has the biggest interface with our environment and foods are the most complex chemicals our body’s are in contact with on a daily basis. It is hardly surprising that things don’t always run smoothly. Considering that IBS isn’t a medical condition but rather a collection of symptoms, getting to the root cause of the problem is the way forward.
Nourishing our bodies with wholesome fresh foods and cutting down/out processed foods along with a lifestyle based around balancing our ‘fight or flight’ and ‘rest & digest’ responses is the key to success with the symptoms associated with IBS.