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IBS Diet - Foods & Eating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Sep 5, 2008
So, if you suffer from IBS (or irritable bowel), one of the biggest questions you always face is - What can you eat? What diet will not flare up your symptoms? And what foods will actually help & heal your stomach?

There are many theories and diet programs that have been proposed for Irritable Bowel. In this article I'll examine the main ones I've tried, and then share what has worked for me in my 5 years of first hand research with this condition.

There are no Right or Wrong Foods

The first biggest myth I have to debunk right now, is that of "right foods". The truth is that there is no right or wrong food.

And every digestive system is unique. And every condition is unique. So, what may have worked for others may not work for you. On the other hand, what works for you may not work for others.

In this article, and the book you may choose to buy, I'll share some of the common foods and recipes that have been known to work. But the key thing in looking for the right diet with Irritable Bowel is to do this with a sense of experimentation. Track your diet and see what works for you, under what condition.

The other thing is that the food is sometimes related to the problem you're facing at the moment. For example, if you're experiencing gassiness at the moment - it's obviously best to avoid foods that would aggravate that.

Do Soluble Fibers Help Digestion?

You may have read in several books that foods rich in soluble fibers taken in small quantities over time can help IBS patients stabilize their digestive systems. Since it's one of the most popular theories out there, I gave it a good, hearty shot.

In my case, soluble fibers didn't help too much - although they didn't hurt either. I've read of several case studies where long term use of soluble fibers has helped improve the strength of the digestive system. In my case, they may have helped slightly - but a huge difference.

My advice to you is to try out soluble fibers - if it hurts, stop within the week. If it helps (or is neutral), then continue this as a lifestyle habit. Make soluble fibers part of 1 or 2 meals each day. So, it may be a safe bet to eat these foods when in doubt:
  • Oat/Oat bran
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Nuts
  • Barley
  • Flax seed
  • Fruits such as oranges and apples
  • Vegetables such as carrots
  • Psyllium husk
The acid-alkaline balance

Our body has a sensitive balance of acid and acidic content. This is known as the pH balance (you probably remember it from 9th grade chemistry). Usually when we lose this balance we end up getting acidity .

The problem is that almost everything we eat is acidic! Most meat, breads, coffee, soft drinks, and even fruits are acidic ... So, how can regain your alkaline balance?

The easiest way is to drink lots of water. Yes, 2-3 liters of water each day will dilute the acidic effect and keep your pH balance normal. If you want to go one step further, drink alkaline drinks. This includes green tea, barley, wheat grass, lemon water, mango/watermelon/apple/guava juice and herb teas.

In the Goodbye IBS! book & bonuses, you'll find a handy cheat sheet of alkaline foods you can print and stick around the house. This will remind you to fill your diet with alkaline foods that constantly balance your pH. (you can find a mini-version of that bonus report at this URL - http://goodbyeibs.com/diet )

Fresh, Vegetarian Food Is The Easiest To Digest

Have you every left cooked meat outside, in the eat for 72 hours? You know what happens to it ... it starts, attracts acterial growth and you generally throw it away, right?

Well, did you know it takes red meat 60-72 hours to pass through your digestive system? And your stomach is hotter and more humid than any environment outside ... just imagine what your digestive system has to put through to absorb and process red meat.

White meat takes 40-48 hours to pass through. A little better, but can you still imagine leaving your grilled chicken out in the son for two days?

Cooked vegetables take 24-30 hours to pass.

Uncooked vegetables take 10-15 hours to pass through your intestines.

And finally, fresh fruits take 2-3 hours to go through your system & get absorbed.

What does this mean for you? Should you give up all kinds of meat? Should you become vegetarian?

I don't know, and I won't tell you how to live your life. But I will tell you that if you increase your quantities of fresh foods - your stomach will have a considerably easier time working ... and your body will have an easier time healing.

I've shifted to having about 50% of my diet as fresh or very lightly steamed/cooked food. And I heavily choose fruits & vegetables over meat. If you do have to choose meat, fish is the easiest food to digest. All other meat is much harder for the stomach to digest (if you must, chicken comes first and red meat later).

Research has found that by comparing the digestive systems of humans with herbivores and carnivores ... we have almost everything identical with a herbivore. The acidic content in our stomach, the length of the digestive intestine and role of suliva.

You don't have to blindly shift to a vegetarian diet - but just try adding some fresh fruits & vegetables to your diet. Replace your breakfast with fresh fruits and notice the immediate difference it brings to your digestion and overall energy. After you've experienced that lightness & energy, you won't need any more convincing.

Avoid Common Trigger Foods

If you must blindly follow one instruction from my book, let it be this - avoid these categories of food at all cost. These are proven triggers for IBS symptoms and you should stay away:

* Coffee, tea and other caffeine drinks (For your morning jolt, try replacing coffee with some light exercise or fresh fruits)
* Spicy, oily and fried food (It's a hard one, but you have to stay off KFC & McDonald's for a few weeks)
* Dairy foods (cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, cream, half-and half, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, frozen yogurt).
* High-fat foods, High-protein foods & red meat (Your body is unable to create the enzymes required to break down fats)
*Gassy Foods (beans, broccoli, cabbage, onions, brussel sprouts, and garlic)

How you eat is more important than what you eat

There are some common guidelines that are the basis of healthy digestion. And chances are you're probably ignoring these right now. Follow these pieces of advice and you'll see an immediate way in which food is processed inside you.

First, remember that almost half the digestion happens in your mouth. Saliva is an extremely powerful digestive enzyme. So, when you don't chew (and just gobble your food down), you're doubling the work for your intestine. And your sick intestine won't stick up for that. So, chew each bite for at least 30 seconds and eat in peace ... anxiety worsens IBS.

Second, eat only two to three meals a day. If you're eating natural healthy food, you don't need more than three small meals in a day. It takes a lot of energy from your body to digest food - so if you keep eating, you'll spend all your energy in digestion and have no time to actually enjoy that energy for real work. It's okay to have snacks in between - they help keep the meals small and keep the digestive system on a low-intensity workout all day long.

Third, small meals only. You have to understand the difference between eating for the stomach and eating for the tongue. The body doesn't need that much to keep going and stay energetic. If you overburden it with three to five large meals in a day, of course the engine will break down. Eat two to three small, regular meals and watch the difference it makes. Planning Your Meals Makes It Easier To Stick To The Right Diet

Here's something I learnt after several years of stumbling around. When I started planning my meals the night before ... I found that I was able to decide what to eat early enough to actually do it.

Plus, very soon I had sheets of information about what I ate, how I responded to it ... and my very own cheat sheet for what to eat and what not. If you buy the Goodbye IBS! book, you'll find your own daily diet tracking sheet to use and a 12 week program to help you easily learn how to use it. (If you're interested, you can learn more at http://goodbyeibs.com/diet )

Why You Should Should Follow This Simple Advice

Now that you've read this gigantic article, let me introduce myself. My name is Rachit Dayal and I suffered from IBS for five long years. In that meantime, I got a chance to do a lot of diet experiments on myself.

Initially, my goal was just to figure out what foods won't trigger my symptoms.But in time, I discovered that there were some foods that actually *helped* my condition. And along with several other treatments I tried over the years, I finally got rid of IBS from my symptom and figure out a diet that allowed me to live my life to the fullest without worrying about a funny tummy.

I wrote a book called "Goodbye IBS!" (you can read more about it at http://goodbyeibs.com/book), and I'm taking parts of that book and publishing them all over the Internet as articles. My hope is that someone who really needs good IBS advice will be able to read this article and see an improvement in their symptoms within hours.

In the last one year, I've sold hundreds of copies of my book and gotten a fantastic response from people who apply these simple principles in their life. Almost everyone who makes an effort notices that their digestion is easier, their symptoms have reduced and their health improves.

These principles are proven. In fact, they're common sense that seems to be forgotten. If you suffer from the painful conditions of Irritable Bowel, then give yourself a chance and heal.
About the Author
The article is written by Rachit Dayal, the author of "Goodbye IBS! Your Essential Guide To Relief & Treatment of Irritable Bowel Symptoms like Diarrhea, Constipation, Bloating, Gas & Pain". For more detailed strategies, visit www.GoodbyeIBS.com/book
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