10 Foods You Wouldn't Expect to Help IBS
My Experience With IBS
Welcome to all my fellow-sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I am a female in her early twenties, and I have been suffering with IBS since the age of 15. My onset seems to have been triggered by genetics, as both my parents have this condition. For some, stress can trigger the condition; for others it is certain foods. Even illness can sometimes be a trigger (e.g., a bad case of food poisoning or flu).
You're not alone with those horrible symptoms. When you're stuck on the toilet feeling nauseated, with a sad bottom and feeling like you want nothing more than to crawl into bed, rest assured that there others out there in the world who are going through the same thing as you.
Symptoms of IBS
- A cramping, knotting, tightening or painful sensations anywhere from just below the ribs to the hips. These may also feel like prickling pains that jump around, gas pains or intense spasms.
- An urgent need to open your bowels, this is often accompanied by sudden intense nausea especially after eating.
- Constipation (less than three stools a week), hard pellets, large or hard stools.
- Diarrhoea or soft, smelly stool which can also be thin.
- A combination of constipation and diarrhoea with some normal bowel movements in between.
- Bouts of frequent urination not caused by infection.
- Rumbling or noisy stomach
- Excess gas and/or feeling the need to pass gas but you can't (often accompanied by bloating)
- Depression, low moods
- Loss or increase of appetite
Symptoms of IBS can vary between people and can last for years at a time. There is no cure for IBS and it is a term used to describe bowel problems rather than being an actual disease. It is important you seek professional advise to make sure it is IBS and not something more serious. IBS does not cause health problems, nor does it cause cancer.
What Works for You?
These foods work wonders for me. Everyone is different, however, and some of these foods may not work well for you. Start with a small sample, and proceed cautiously.
People are often stunned when I suggest popcorn to help their bowel habits. They look at me like I'm crazy when in actual fact popcorn really can make a difference to your IBS.
What does it do?
Popcorn contains high levels of fibre, go ahead and eat a bag now, preferably plain or sweet and you may notice that within one day you will have a good bowel movement, pieces of the popcorn can be seen inside it to let you know it has passed your system!
Popcorn works wonders for people that suffer from slow bowel movements, hard stools or constipation as it encourages the system to evacuate gently without causing diarrhoea, nausea or bad gas. It's also delicious!
Bananas are not only great for your energy levels, they are a natural laxative. The trick is to eat 2-4 bananas at night and within one day you will have a good bowel movement. Bananas contain high levels of fructose, if you are intolerant to this then avoid them as they provide enough sugar for a 90 minute workout.
You can eat them in the morning or at night before bed, I usually have them at night and by the early afternoon the next day I have cleared constipation.
If you are prone to soft stools or diarrhoea but still want to try, limit it to 1-2 bananas in the evening as they can help to soften stools.
Does this count as a food?
Original Coca-Cola is used often with people that suffer from nausea. I have used it as a remedy myself no end of times. The sugar raises blood sugar level which if you are suffering from a bad IBS attack, it will keep your blood sugar up, the small amount of caffeine will help keep you awake and the flavour is nothing to make you sad about.
Coca-Cola uses fructose sugars and cane sugars which are natural sugars. Sweeteners are often a cause of IBS as they are made from chemicals. The natural sugars in Coke should not bother your bowels unless you are intolerant to fructose.
Its main usage is settling a stomach, helping with nausea and helping to stop vomiting. It can also help with hydration and is a better alternative to water if you have IBS nausea attacks as water lies in your stomach and encourages soft stools and vomiting.
Coconut is a natural remedy to many common conditions. From IBS to worms, coconut has been used for years as a home treatment.
Coconut contains many beneficial acids as well as being a gentle natural cleanser. Coconut water and coconut milk are the best alternatives to dairy if you are lactose intolerant, don't want to consume cows milk or you just want to be really hydrated. Coconut milk also lasts much longer and can be found with the long life milk in most supermarkets, it is sweet and lacks in many sugars and chemical treatments regular milk has gone through.
The meat from the coconut is not only a deterrent to parasites, it is very healthy for you, gentle on your stomach and contains plenty of fibre. Coconuts are easily digested and can be consumed daily. It is recommended they are taken as a snack or as a healthy breakfast.
Coconut naturally helps settle the stomach and boosts hydration and happiness levels. Coconut milk and water can be used together as part of a healthy lifestyle with no added sugars, colours, chemicals or nasty surprises. The milk can be used in tea, coffee or drank alone. The water can be used during exercise or as a normal drink but the water should be kept refrigerated. It is a very low risk product.
When buying coconuts make sure they are bought from a refrigerated area. If the outer shell shows any signs of mould, do not purchase as it will have contaminated the rest of the coconut. Always shake to make sure they contain the healthy milk. Milk and water can be bought separately.
Many people are intolerant to nuts, however, they may be fatty but contain a lot of fibre and promote healthy bowel movements. Mixed nuts can be bought cheaply and if you are not allergic to them, they may be good to add to your diet. Avoid purchasing salted peanuts, opt for natural hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pecans.
Nuts can help with constipation and energy levels but if consumed excessively they can cause stomach upsets and even contribute to weight gain in some cases. A small amount of nuts added to the diet each day can help ease your stomach into natural bowel movements and ease discomfort.
You can add nuts to salads, eat them alone, roast them or even bake them into a cake or onto cookies for a fun and easy treat everyone can enjoy.
6. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is possibly one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to stomach problems. It works by settling the stomach and releasing a calming agent which makes you feel refreshed, relaxed and cleansed. Peppermint tea has many great health benefits and is gentle on the stomach so it won't cause constipation or diarrhoea, it won't give you gas and can even help relieve bloating associated with IBS.
Peppermint tea is also used to treat nausea and vomiting.
It should be taken one bag with hot water and tastes wonderful hot or cold, you should not add sugar or milk to it or you will spoil the health benefits and the taste. Many doctors recommend using peppermint tea to settle and soothe tummy ailments.
Pomegranate is also known as the fruit of the gods, it is said the ancient gods loved it so if you're into mythology it's probably the thing for you.
Pomegranate not only deters and can even destroy parasites, it is also very healthy for the body. They are classed as a super food and can allegedly promote longer life. They are gentle on the stomach, help cleanse your guts and if you pick one that's nice you can even make juice from it using a blender.
Often people don't know how to eat a pomegranate, you thoroughly wash the outer skin, slice it into quarters and you can eat the entire interior of the fruit, most of it is made up from juice seeds. The seeds can be removed if you turn it upside down in a bowl of water and they can be frozen, baked into cakes, added to tarts or even consumed alone.
Guacamole is blended up avocado often mixed with small pieces of tomato or even in some cases onion to create a dipping sauce for tortilla chips. Guacamole can be bought in most supermarkets and has a very unique but delicious taste.
It works by promoting bowel movements, helping to soften stools and easing digestion and can be consumed alone or with many other things e.g. tortilla chips, crisps, breadsticks, crackers and even salads. It will not cause diarrhoea or nausea, if you are one for flavours then this is the right dip for you to try out.
Eat some guac with plain tortilla chips and you will get the full frontal cleansing, your guts will be wiped clean within 1-2 days max.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are yet again a great deterrent to worms and other parasites, they are beneficial to your body and can help with your bowel movements naturally. They will not cause hardening or softening of the stool and are suitable for people that suffer from nausea and diarrhoea as well as constipation and can be easier on the gut than nuts. Please make sure you are not allergic.
They can be mixed with nuts, baked into cakes, put on biscuits, eaten alone, cooked, crushed to powder or even put into salads. They are a great food to have if you aren't one for intense flavours.
Pumpkin seeds are best consumed fresh from your pumpkin, or you can buy them already packaged in a shop. If you like, you can roast them.
Fish is great for people with IBS as it contains a lot of proteins. When cooked properly it is a great option for any meal and is very low calorie, in some cases lower than chicken.
Lean cuts of fish or prawns can be gentle on the stomach, delicious and even fun to eat. Make sure you buy boxed fish or fish from a professional counter and ask about preparation and check Youtube for video guidance. Foods like tuna are excellent on your stomach and will not cause bowel disruptions, nausea, wind or other such issues. Please make sure you can consume them safely.
Most cans of tuna provide around 40 grams of protein per can, they contain no added sugars, dairy and are not part of the red meat family therefore not exposed to gluten. Tuna or any canned fish is best consumed in brine or in spring water rather than sunflower oil.
Fish is one of those types of food that does nothing to upset IBS. I myself consume it on a regular basis especially canned tuna, prawns, cod fillets and even tuna steak and it does nothing to upset my stomach, cause bloating or any other problems which red meats and low quality white meats do.
Try to avoid things like salmon, especially salmon cuts or smoked foods as these can cause nausea and aggravate irritable bowels. I find that sometimes they can appear cooked when they are not.
Avoid undercooked fish or sushi at all costs.
Did you find this hub helpful and reassuring?
I want to thank everyone that took the time to read my article, and I hope you found it informative and even helpful.
A couple of additional foods I've found to be helpful:
- Red onion (raw)
If you have any recommendations or helpful tips yourself then leave a comment down below and join the discussion in fighting IBS.
All above methods have been tested and approved by myself. I personally suffer from lots of bloating, cramping, mixed pains, gas, trapped gas, nausea and constipation. The above foods have helped me combat my IBS. I really hope you give some of them a go and see if they work out for you.