Get relief when you eat to reduce inflammation with these three tips.
Ready to take control and manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with diet? I’ll share the list of foods (below) that have been connected to flare-ups. The challenge is that everyone’s digestion is different, and with IBS some days you can tolerate certain foods and other days you can’t. If you really want to take control of your IBS you need to learn how to eat to reduce inflammation (the cause of the IBS). This brings lasting relief and I’ve found people are better able to tolerate many of the foods on their “flare-up” list when they do. Here are the steps I recommend you take:
- adjust how you eat to line up with healthy anti-inflammatory eating
- reduce sugar and saturated fat
- identify which of the more inflammatory, harder-to-digest foods are causing your issues and avoid eating them
It’s important to remember that everyone’s digestion is different. Some people with IBS can tolerate certain foods, while others may not. Getting to know your body and learning which foods make you feel the best, and limiting those that you react negatively to is key. I have found a phased approach works best. Many of my program participants get relief when they put the first two actions into place, but if not, they work on a “Food Trial” to systematically identify their harder to digest foods.
Activate Anti-Inflammatory Healthy Eating To Support Your Gut
Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate provides an evidence-based approach to healthy anti-inflammatory eating. Follow these five tips to put it into practice when assembling a meal or snack:
- Eat more vegetables and fruit – ½ of your plate. You want to make vegetables and fruits half of what you’re eating a day. The more colorful your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your gut needs to thrive and it will help get your bowel movements regular and more comfortable. Some people with IBS have trouble tolerating raw vegetables and find cooked vegetables and blended or riced versions easier to digest. Remember to initially avoid vegetables like onions, broccoli, and beans as those can trigger IBS flare-ups. Also, potatoes are not recommended because of their negative impact on blood sugar which can lead to inflammation. Check out my dark green smoothie video and recipe. It’s a great way to get more veggies and fruits into your day (in an easy to digest way).
- Eat less sugar. Sugar is connected to inflammation. One easy way to reduce it is to track your packaged foods and stick to a daily limit (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men, 18 grams for kids). Read the nutrition panels and choose versions with less sugar.
- Reduce grains – ¼ of your plate. Grains get converted to sugar as a part of digestion and can cause inflammation. Many people with IBS get relief by eating fewer grains. Not all grains are the same. Some foods like pastas, breads, crackers, cereals and baked goods are made from refined or enriched grains, which are stripped of nutrients and fiber. Whole grains are a better choice for people with IBS because they still retain beneficial fiber and nutrients. During your next shopping trip, read ingredients on product packaging and look for “100% whole grain” instead of white versions. You may also find that grains like soy, gluten and corn may contribute to your IBS symptoms. Many people have a sensitivity to them and do better when they avoid them. Try substituting quinoa or brown rice products and see how you feel.
- Include healthy lean proteins – ¼ of your plate. Protein helps you stay full and slows the release of sugar (reduces inflammation). Choose lean cuts of animal meats (fish, white meat chicken) as they have less fat which can be harder to digest. Plant-based sources (beans, lentils, seeds and nuts) are part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, however you need to see how your body responds to different types and amounts. We recommend you try blended versions of beans (bean dips) and nuts (peanut and almond butter) to start as they can be easier to digest. And lentils can be especially harder for people with digestive issues to tolerate.
- “Have no more than 1-2 servings of dairy a day.” Dairy found in milk, cream, cheese and Kefir can cause inflammation and be harder for people to digest as they get older, especially those with IBS and digestive issues. You may want to limit or eliminate dairy and see if you feel better.
Eat Fewer Foods That Cause Flare-Ups
Some foods that are harder to digest and are commonly associated with IBS flare-ups are: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, beans, caffeine, processed foods (additives used), chocolate, alcohol, garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar, fat, carbonation, sugar-free sweeteners, and fried foods. Pay attention to how often you eat them and how many you have in a day. Eating fewer of these foods will help you feel better. And I’ve found that when you get anti-inflammatory eating to work for you, you actually will be able to tolerate a lot of foods that were on your flare-up list.
Identify Your Harder To Digest Foods
If you are eating a food that you don’t digest well, it is causing inflammation in your system. There are seven foods that are harder for everyone to digest and can be problematic for people with IBS. These foods are: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, large citrus, pineapple. To assess if a food is a problem you need to remove all of them so your system is running clean. And then introduce only one food back in each day so they can feel if a food is a problem. You can use that knowledge to inform how you eat to reduce inflammation further and feel better.
You Got This
It’s possible to take control and learn how to live and eat to manage your digestive issues. It takes knowledge, skills and support. You can create a new relationship with food – one that heals instead of hurts. You just need an easy way to get there. My online program has helped thousands figure it out, get relief, experience a calm and easy belly and reap the larger health rewards of an anti-inflammatory healthy living lifestyle. I’d love to show you how!
Here’s an easy way to start your day pulling in nutrients in an easy to digest way. Check out my dark green smoothie video and recipe.
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