So you’ve just been diagnosed with IBS, and you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. It’s totally understandable. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to manage your diet and overall health and get you back on track to feeling fabulous! Here are 7 practical tips to get you started:
1. Keep A Food Diary
One of the most effective ways to manage IBS is by identifying trigger foods that worsen your symptoms. Keeping a food diary can help you keep track of everything you eat and drink, along with any symptoms you experience. This allows you to identify patterns and figure out what foods may be causing problems. When keeping a food diary, be sure to note the portion sizes, time of day, and any stressors or other factors that may impact your symptoms.
2. Try A Low FODMAP Diet
FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can cause IBS symptoms. A low FODMAP diet involves avoiding certain high FODMAP foods for a period of time, then slowly reintroducing them to determine tolerance levels. High FODMAP foods to avoid include garlic, onions, wheat, beans, and some fruits like apples and pears. During the elimination phase, focus on eating low FODMAP foods such as meat, fish, eggs, lactose-free dairy, grains like rice and quinoa, and most fruits and vegetables (except those high in FODMAPs).
3. Work With A Dietitian
An Accredited Practising Dietitian who specialises in the low FODMAP diet can help you develop a personalized plan for managing your IBS. They can provide guidance on diet and lifestyle changes to best help you manage your symptoms while still eating the foods you love. They are essential for helping you with Tip #2!
4. Take Care Of Your Gut Microbiome
The good bacteria in your gut can play a big role in IBS symptoms. Eating a diet rich in prebiotic and probiotic foods can help promote a healthy gut microbiome. Prebiotic foods help to feed the good bacteria and keep them health, and some low FODMAP prebiotic containing foods include oats, firm bananas, and spelt sourdough bread. Probiotic foods contain the good bacteria themselves, and include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. You can also take a probiotic supplement if recommended by your healthcare provider.
5. Practice Stress Management Techniques
Stress can worsen IBS symptoms, so it’s important to find ways to manage it. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and regular exercise are all great ways to manage stress. It’s important to speak to a counsellor or psychologist if you’re struggling!
6. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, but it’s especially important for people with IBS. Constipation is a common symptom of IBS, and drinking enough water can help keep things moving in your digestive system. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water a day! If you find this difficult, consider adding flavour to your water (for example with lemon, cucumber or mint), or try other hydrating beverages like herbal tea.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, but it can also help manage IBS symptoms. Lack of sleep can increase stress and worsen symptoms, so aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you have trouble sleeping, try establishing a regular bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.
Remember, managing IBS is a process, and it might take some time to find what works best for you. But with patience, perseverance, and a little bit of trial and error, you can learn to live well with IBS. And remember, we are always in your corner, so you don’t have to go it alone.
Why not check out our website for more tools, tips, recipe ideas and products to help you not only navigate the low FODMAP diet, but regain control, improve your health, lower your stress, and get you back on track to living your best life!