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What to eat if you have IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an often misunderstood and undiagnosed condition that affects 1 in 5 Australian adults. Common symptoms of IBS include bloating, excess wind, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. The cause of IBS is unclear, but factors such as stress and some food components can trigger and aggravate symptoms.

Whilst no one remedy will work for all patients, treatment options often include dietary modification. For IBS sufferers that generally means shining a spotlight on FODMAPs, a large group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body in the small intestine. These sugars are then fermented in the gut and cause symptoms associated with IBS.

Since FODMAPs are present in many common foods such as dairy products, wheat and other grains and fruits and vegetables, following a low diet low in FODMAPs will help manage and reduce symptoms.

Dietitian’s low FODMAP food suggestions:

  • Colourful fruits such as bananas, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, melons, grapes, pineapples, oranges and kiwifruits
  • Vegetables such as bok choy, capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, green beans and lettuce
  • Wheat-free, rye-free and soy-free all-purpose flour blends
  • Wheat-free noodles including buckwheat soba noodles
  • Low lactose dairy foods such as ripened cheese (e.g. parmesan, feta) and lactose-free yoghurt and rice milk
  • Variety of lean meats, fish and poultry
  • Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds.

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