IBS Part 3: How can I Improve my IBS?
Simple ways to help manage and support your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms and heal your gut.
1. Look at your plate, what are you actually eating?!
How many times a day or per week do you eat takeaways, food with additives, preservatives, processed foods or ready meals?
If its more than the odd treat, I highly recommend cutting back on these inflammatory foods and see what happens to your gut!
If you're time poor, check out my blogs on meal prepping or how to order a healthy take away.
2. Keep a food diary to see any pattern between ingested foods and your symptoms.
You will start to notice a pattern of foods that are causing you stomach upset and know it's best to avoid them until you manage to heal the gut lining (with the help of a nutritionist).
Keeping a food diary can greatly help you understand trigger foods. Some of the most common allergens being wheat and dairy. But if there is any type of bacterial
imbalance and potentially SIBO (check out my other blogs to learn more!), you may find that you are reacting to onions, garlic, broccoli, apples or beans to name a few.
Unless you have an actual food allergy (rather than intolerance), you may find that after a few months of gut healing and repair you can eat these foods again with no adverse reactions!
3. FIBRE FIBRE FIBRE!
Fibre can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, grains, nuts and seeds so there are lots of ingredients to choose from! Pretty much most plant foods will give you a good dose.
IBS with constipation can often be due to a lack of fibre and/or not enough water. The body is not able to make a healthy stool to move along the digestive tract. IBS with loose stools is often connected with not having enough balance between soluble and insoluble fibre and the body can produce a solid bowel movement.
My top fibre foods include oats, sweet potato, black beans, avocado, berries, cabbage and brown rice. When prepping, it's important to keep skins on as this is where a lot of the insoluble fibre, or "roughage" is.
Other reasons to increase your fibre intake...
Gain control over your hormones without any pricy supplements
Help eliminate body toxins sitting in your colon
Balance oestrogen levels
Tame your appetite
Add natural pre-biotics to your diet - onions, garlic, leeks
Manage blood sugar spikes - so important if you're struggling to lose weight, menopausal, insulin resistant or pre-diabetic
Help guard you from pathogenic bacteria
Improve general gastrointestinal health
You can get natural probiotics from fermented foods. A pot of kimchi or homemade kombucha in the fridge could be the solution.
There are many probiotic supplements available but it's always best to use food as the medicine where possible. The easiest to stomach fermented foods are: Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha and Miso.
You don't need much - one tablespoon of kimchi or sauerkraut counts as a portion, which makes it very easy to add to your salad or evening meal 2 - 3 times a week.
Why are fermented foods so good for us? During the process of fermentation, microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi convert organic compounds, such as sugars and starch, into natural, beneficial probiotics (essentially good bacteria = probiotics!) They help with digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Adding probiotics in your diet by eating more fermented foods will balance out gut dysbiosis (the state in which the gut flora are out of balance), and create a diverse and healthy microbiome.
What if you think you eat well, do all of the above and still have IBS symptoms?
Sometimes IBS can be hard to improve if it is not just caused by stress or poor diet. There may be other underlying factors at play. This is where it is important to speak to a nutritionist. We would usually conduct an advanced stool analysis using PCR technology to assess the stool for parasites, digestion and absorption markers, inflammation levels, good and bad bacteria types and fungal overgrowth. We may also consider a breath test for SIBO (see Part 4 for the blog post on SIBO).
Interested in learning more about how to naturally manage your IBS symptoms? Book a free consultation on how I can help you today.
Heres what Laura had to say about working with Kelly to improve her IBS symptoms
"I sought Kelly’s help after struggling with painful bloating and IBS for many many years. I honestly thought there was no way that it could ever be fixed, but I was wrong! Kelly put together a holistic plan for me by understanding where my issues were coming from and then advising on diet, supplements and lifestyle changes to solve them. The consultations were informative and helpful and we ended up looking at far more than just my initial issues, Kelly has also helped me kick my brain fog and was particularly helpful in post-covid recovery too.
The result is that I feel like a totally different person. I’m now comfortable (almost) all of the time, and know which foods to eat and which to avoid. Kelly made sure that I was set up for future success by advising the course of action to take after we completed our sessions. I am also able to concentrate far better and my skin is clearer than it’s ever been. I loved learning from and working with Kelly, and am hugely appreciative of her guidance and support."
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.
I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.