Which Foods to Eat (and the Ones to Avoid) With IBSHolly Case, Freelance Writer and Mom of Three Boys
If only there were some magic solution to completely get rid of IBS. While researchers are still working on making that dream come true, you can do a lot to manage your IBS. The foods you eat can make a big difference. Here are some of the foods you want to eat—as well as the ones you’d be better off to avoid.
Choose Easily Digested Carbohydrates
You want to eat foods that are gentle on your digestive tract, especially if you’re experiencing an IBS flare. Choose the same types of foods you might eat when recovering from an upset tummy. Good choices include the following:
- Toast or bagels (which can be gluten-free)
- Saltine crackers
- Baked potatoes (eat plain or with a very minimal amount of toppings)
Eat the Right Fruits and Vegetables
Some vegetables can make IBS symptoms worse. Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be especially bad. But don’t take that as an excuse to skip all vegetables. Choose more easily digestible veggies like green beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Eat the right types of fruits, too. Fruits that contain high amounts of fructose, like apples and pears, as well as fruit juices and dried fruits, can trigger more discomfort. Choose fruits that are more likely to agree with you, like berries, bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges.
Avoid Spicy or Greasy Foods
Having a spicy Tex-Mex dinner or a greasy chili dog might be tasty, but it may cause a major flare-up of IBS symptoms. Most people with IBS find that spicy and greasy foods trigger discomfort.
Dairy products are a special concern. Many IBS sufferers feel worse when they consume dairy products like milk, sour cream, or cheese. However, the problem may not be dairy itself, but the lactose or milk sugar in dairy products. Other common food triggers for IBS symptoms include beans and certain types of artificial sweeteners called sugar alcohols.
Keep a Food Diary
The specific foods that trigger IBS attacks can be different for each person. Keep a food diary or log of the foods you eat and how you feel afterwards. This will be a good tool to help you know which foods are the worst offenders for you.
Keep your focus on eating digestible foods, avoiding troublesome ones, and keeping a relaxed attitude about your wellness.