Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Simple Everyday Solutions to Managing IBS

Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is rarely the result of a serious health issue, the symptoms are nonetheless quite distressing to those who suffer from the condition.  

Symptoms

IBS is a series of symptoms including pain, cramping, diarrhea, and or constipation. While the causes are still varied and, in some cases unclear, there are numerous ways you can modify your eating habits to bring more balance to your digestion.

Mindfulness

Digestion is not just about what you eat, but also how you eat it. Mindfulness can have an impressive impact on how you feel after a meal, so relax, remove distractions, and focus on the delicious and nourishing meal you are enjoying. Reducing stress levels while eating impacts digestion by increasing blood flow to digestive organs, normalizing food transit time through the digestive system, and increasing essential digestive enzyme production and release. 

Slow down

Chewing your food be the greatest positive change that you make for your digestion. Stomach acid and digestive enzymes can only act on exposed food surfaces, meaning the smaller the pieces the faster and more efficiently your body can break down and assimilate nutrients. The longer undigested food remains in the system; the more fermentation can occur; causing gas, bloating, cramping and overall discomfort.

Food choices

While the specifics of which foods to include and which to reduce should be individually discussed with a professional to tailor the recommendations to your particular case, here are some of the foundational aspects to get you started.

Fibre

Include more fibre, in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, can help regulate bowel function by absorbing excess fluid in cases of diarrhea, or by holding sufficient moisture to prevent constipation. Fibre also feeds beneficial bacteria strains that are essential for healthy digestion, as we rely on these tiny microbes to break down and metabolize micro nutrients for better absorption and to reduce digestive irritation. Beneficial bacteria also protect our digestive system from harmful pathogens that may infect our system and cause IBS symptoms. Note that adding too much fibre too quickly to your diet can be just as troublesome as not having enough, so be sure to make any changes to your diet slowly to allow your body to adapt. A nutritionist can help you find everyday alternatives and additions to increase your dietary naturally.

Additives

Try to avoid food additives as many as possible mainly artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Anything that has been modified from its natural state or synthesized in a lab may affect the gut. 
Not sure what to look for? 
Any ingredient that you would not expect to see on a menu or use at home is suspect. A simple way to do this is to choose foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, and ideally just as they came from the earth.

Food sensitivities

Foods such as, though not limited to, gluten, dairy, or corn often play a role in contributing to IBS symptoms as well. Keeping a food log for a few weeks, or going on an elimination diet with a nutritionist can help identify particular foods or food pairings that may be exacerbating your symptoms.


If you want to understand more about your IBS you can book a  complementary no-obligation assessment with one of our experienced health coaches who can answer your questions. Call 613 230-0998, book online, or email info@ottawaholisticwellness.ca today!

About the Author

Jessica is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for helping people live happier, healthier, more vibrant lives through nutrition and lifestyle coaching. 







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