High-fiber, high-residue foods generally are healthy, but may be difficult for some people to digest.
That’s why it’s so important to make the connection between what you put in your mouth and how you feel — it’s the most effective way of preventing abdominal discomfort.
Fiber is very important in our diets, but taking it in the form of medications — even over the counter like Metamucil, Citrucel, etc. — is not always helpful and can sometimes lead to even more constipation and abdominal distention.
I recommend a diet containing 1/3 protein, 1/3 non-animal fat, and 1/3 combination of fiber and non-processed carbs to help with better nutritional balance.
Additional foods that may irritate your intestines are beans, kale, broccoli rabe, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes), rice, to name some.
At the end of the day, you can find out which foods cause problems for you by withholding one at a time from your diet and seeing if it makes a difference in how you feel.
Then, after you find the culprit, moderate their use, no matter how much you may like them. Alcohol, caffeine, soda, sugar substitutes, and even chewing gum cause many people to walk around in perpetual discomfort simply because they do not want to stop using them.
Take responsibility for figuring out how you feel after you eat certain foods. Once you develop the body awareness to make the proper connections between what you ate and how you feel, you can take control of your outcome.
Drink a glass of milk and see how you feel one, two, and three hours later. If you get diarrhea, bloating, and feel nauseated, you may be lactose intolerant.
Eliminate dairy for a while and see how you feel. If your symptoms of IBS disappear, you solved the problem.
Do the same with gluten. Eliminate it from your diet for a week. Stop all gluten. And don’t cheat. Eating even a little will not help you figure out if gluten is the problem.
Do the same with all foods. Eliminate and reintroduce one at a time.
It’s safer, cheaper, and the best way to figure out how to improve your intestinal tract function.
Take responsibility for eliminating “IBS” from your vocabulary.
Posts by Erika Schwartz, M.D
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