by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
We’ve all had those days when our stomachs are acting up, and nothing will settle them down. It’s no fun to feel like you have a constant knot in your gut or like you can’t eat anything without feeling the burn of acid reflux. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), then you know how miserable these symptoms can make your life.
IBS is a digestive disorder that causes pain and inflammation in the colon, making it difficult to eat or go about your day without feeling uncomfortable.
The good news is that there are plenty of foods that can help you manage and minimize the symptoms of IBS. We’ve compiled this list of eight best foods for IBS so that you can get back to enjoying life again!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition, including IBS. If you suffer from IBS, follow the recommendations of a medical professional, such as your doctor or dietician.
8 Best Foods for Those with IBS
There are many ways that you can help yourself if you have IBS, but some of the best foods for those who suffer from IBS are:
1. Lean protein sources
Meat is a great source of protein, which is important for the development of muscle and bone, but it can also be hard to digest. Eating lean protein sources, such as chicken or turkey breast without the skin, helps with digestion because it contains less fat than red meat or pork.
Eggs are one of the best foods for IBS. They’re rich in protein, which helps to make you feel full and satisfied, and they also contain healthy fats.
Eggs also contain lutein, which is known to help protect against eye disease. Eggs can be used in many different ways, including as an omelet, boiled eggs, or poached eggs on toast. This makes them a versatile food that can be enjoyed by everyone.
3. Salmon and other omega-3 fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that is important for your overall health. They help reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to IBS symptoms.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3s. Other varieties of fish high in omega-3s include tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.
If you’re worried about mercury levels in fish, choose low-mercury varieties such as salmon or cod. If you prefer, you can also take an omega-3 supplement to get your daily dose of these healthy fats.
4. Low-FODMAP veggies
One of the best ways to avoid IBS symptoms is by eating a low-FODMAP diet (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols).
The FODMAP diet is a specialized diet that helps reduce IBS symptoms in many people. It’s based on what foods contain certain carbohydrates called FODMAPs.
If you have IBS and are interested in trying out this diet, it may be helpful to know what foods are allowed and which ones are not. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor or a registered dietician to get your nutrition dialed in properly to better manage your IBS and its symptoms.
A low-FODMAP diet restricts certain foods like wheat, beans, and dairy products. To make up for these restrictions, you need to eat lots of low-FODMAP vegetables because they’re naturally low in FODMAPs. These include:
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Water chestnut
5. Low-FODMAP greens
Your gut flora will thank you when you finally consume more leafy greens. Leafy greens are full of nutrients and are not likely to cause gut fermentation.
You can add leafy greens to smoothies, juices, or even make delicious salads.
Low-FODMAP greens include:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
6. Low-FODMAP fruits
Similar to veggies, fruits are packed with nutrients that are great for your gut flora and should be good for your IBS.
You should make sure you do not eat too many fruits in one sitting or within a day. Doing so may overwhelm the body’s ability to absorb the natural sugar in fruit without causing gas and fermentation.
Low-FODMAP fruits are:
- Honeydew melon
Nuts are a good source of fiber, which can help improve bowel function by helping to increase stool bulkiness. They are also a good source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral that can:
- Help maintain normal muscle and nerve function
- Keep your heartbeat steady
- Support a healthy immune system
- Maintain bone strength
The recommended daily intake for magnesium is around 310 milligrams per day for women and 400 milligrams per day for men.
Seeds are good for people with IBS because they contain a lot of fiber and protein. They also help to slow down the digestion process and make you feel fuller for longer. Good seeds to include in your diet if you have IBS are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds.