Recipes for IBS Relief

Fiber can be useful to most IBS sufferers because it helps the muscular tube of the bowel and intestine work properly.  There are 2 types of fiber:

Soluble fiber helps both diarrhoea and constipation and is found in foods like apples, citrus fruits, beans and oats.

Insoluble fiber helps constipation by moving the gut contents along the intestine.  It adds bulk to the contents and gives the muscular tube something to ‘push against’ to keep things moving.  You’ll get insoluble fiber from wheat bran, wholegrain bread, many vegetables and healthy cereals.

High fiber foods will help treat constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticulitis and IBS as well as reduce your cholesterol and therefore reduce your heart disease risk.

It’s important to increase the fiber in your diet slowly as you can become bloated and feel gassy if you do it too quickly.  Do this by eating a wide range of high fiber foods.

They also help your body absorb food nutrients and make you feel fuller for longer so that you eat less.  Eating several smaller meals rather than fewer large ones can also help you to reduce your IBS pain and bloating.

How much fiber?

The amount of fiber you should eat each day depends on your age and sex. Generally men should aim for about 30-40 grams each day and women should be eating about 20-25 grams.

However, unless you weigh your food, it’s a bit difficult to know how much fiber you’re getting. So go for at least 2 or more cups of fruit and 2 or more cups of vegetables each day.

  • Use high fiber foods in your cooking, such as beans (kidney, pinto, black, lima, white, broad etc), lentils, artichokes, pears, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, berries, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, spinach, corn and cabbage.
  • Salads and side dishes are easy ways to incorporate these foods into your daily diet.
  • Snack on dried fruit such as dates, figs, apricot etc.
  • Add fruit to wholegrain cereals for breakfast and bran (miller’s bran) can also be added to cereals, meat loaf and soups.
  • If you eat a lot of bread, replace white bread with wholegrain bread for your sandwich lunch and have brown rice and pasta instead of white.
  • Eat more bran, oatmeal and whole grain cereals, and check the labels when you’re buying food.

Kellogg’s Allbran is high is insoluble fiber and can be used in surprising ways in your cooking. Their website has a good selection of recipes that will help you incorporate more fiber into your diet without having to think about it: http://www.all-bran.com/recipes.htm

What foods can trigger IBS symptoms?

Because every IBS sufferer’s symptoms vary in response to different food or stress stimuli, it may help to keep a food diary – what you ate, what symptoms you had, what stresses you were under etc – and see if a pattern emerges.

Foods and drinks that may make your IBS flare up include:

  • Red meat
  • Fried food
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated soda drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty foods
  • Dairy foods
  • Spicy food
  • Pastries/cakes etc
  • Alcohol
  • Bread/pasta etc

Exclude certain foods (eg those listed above) for 4-6 weeks and when you know that it doesn’t make your symptoms any better/worse, you can incorporate it back into your diet.

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