Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common digestive disorder seen by physicians, and twice as many women suffer from the condition as men. IBS is also known as intestinal neurosis, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, or spastic colon.
In IBS, the normally rhythmic muscular contractions of the digestive tract become irregular and uncoordinated. This interferes with the normal movement of food and waste material, and leads to the accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestine which in turn creates abdominal pain, bloating, distention and constipation. It is a painful and debilitating condition that can cause a loss of the quality of life and usually affects people between the ages of 25 and 45, although it can appear at any time.
There are many different ways to naturally and safely improve your health and alleviate your IBS symptoms. One of the most common ways to do this is to change your diet. There are a number of trigger foods, or foods that cause onset of an episode of IBS. These trigger foods are commonly fatty, rich foods, dairy products, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, or spicy foods. If you have IBS, avoid these trigger foods as much as possible.
There are also many foods you can add to your diet to help alleviate your IBS.
People who suffer from diarrhoea should add soluble fibre into their diet. It helps by forming a gel which slows down the movement of food through the intestines. Raw fruits and vegetables, pulses, oats, barley and sweet potatoes are all excellent sources of soluble fibre. Keep in mind, that excessive amounts of coarse fibre should be avoided as this can cause intestinal comfort. Soluble fibre should come primarily from fresh fruit and vegetables.
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A recent study has shown that kiwi fruit is an excellent food to add to your diet if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The researchers found that eating two kiwi fruit a day for a month significantly “shortens colon transit time, increases defecation frequency, and improves bowel function” in those with constipation type IBS.
Not only is it high in soluble fibre, it is the most nutrient-dense fruit. It has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and is a good source of magnesium and potassium. Another interesting thing about kiwi fruit is that it is one of the few low-fat sources of vitamin E. This is especially important to IBS sufferers since most sources of vitamin E are high in fat. The kiwi fruit provides a good source of vitamin E to those who cannot tolerate high fat foods. Kiwi also contains high levels of actinidin, which is an enzyme that mimics pepsin. Pepsin is a natural enzyme that aids in digestion.
The role of fruit, fibre, and antioxidants may help explain why people eating plant-based diets have improved bowel function in general.
Do you have IBS? What do you do to relieve symptoms? What works for you? Tell us below.