Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is marked by a variety of digestive issues, including but not limited to diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, smelly stool, abdominal pain, burping, acid reflux, mal-absorption, nutrient deficiencies and general discomfort. The development of IBS symptoms can be influenced by genetic makeup, chemical additives in food, antibiotic use, high intake of sugar and processed foods, anxiety, depression and some medications. One does not need to have IBS as a child to develop IBS symptoms later in life; however, many IBS sufferers report a history of chronic mild to severe digestive discomfort. Digestive diseases also generally run in families.
Do you suffer from IBS or any collection of IBS symptoms? Diet quality can greatly impact the severity. When I work with my patients to reduce their discomfort, we will look holistically at their lifestyle, including stress levels, sleep quality and quantity, medications, anxiety and depression, family history, exercise and their diet. Many of these lifestyle factors, like stress and anxiety, cannot be so easily and quickly eliminated, but your diet is something that you can immediately and directly use to help reduce discomfort and pain. Below I list a variety of foods that naturally help reduce inflammation, soothe the gut and allow for healing of the tissue. All three of these steps need to happen to more completely relieve the chronic discomfort that you are experiencing.
– Flax seed, ground or soaked & sprouted
– Chia seeds, whole or ground
– Wild fish: salmon, sardines, halibut, cod
– Raw & cooked leafy greens: spinach, arugula, spring greens, swiss chard, collard greens
– Raw berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
– Bone broth: chicken or beef (different from chicken or beef stock broth, so double check the label!)
– Butternut Squash soup: Pacific Foods is my favorite store-bought brand
– Sweet potato, baked with skin
– Almond butter, preferably organic
– Hot water with fresh lemon or lime juice
– Unsweetened green tea, whole leaf or Matcha preferred
Instead of focusing on taking so many foods out of your diet, focus on beginning to incorporate these anti-inflammatory foods into your meals and snacks on a daily basis. This will help naturally eliminate many chemical additives and added hormones from processed foods, while also helping to increase your consumption of anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins, minerals and other phyto-nutrients that promote healthy digestion and immunity.