Safe Snacks for Easing IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a fairly common digestive condition that affects the large intestine. Common and uncomfortable symptoms of IBS may include constipation, diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. IBS is considered a chronic condition that often affects patients over the long term. Fortunately, it’s possible to manage the symptoms of IBS by adopting a diet filled with the foods to help to limit the symptoms, including:

1. Probiotic rich foods
Probiotics are an excellent way to help with IBS because they infuse healthy bacteria into your body, which can help counteract bacteria that could be having a negative effect on your condition. You can usually find these food items in yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and miso at your local grocer or health food store. You can also take probiotics in supplement form, but they are most effective when you take them as whole foods.

2. Lean meats
Another snack option can be found in bite-sized versions of your favorite lean meat. This includes chicken breast, white turkey, lean beef, lamb, or pork. If you eat darker or fattier meats, there are actually elements within (trans fats) that could make your IBS symptoms worse because these fats promote inflammation. However, lean meat you can eat safely without any fear of uncomfortable symptoms.

3. Fruit smoothies
If you blend up a smoothie and drink it cold, this should be a soothing snack for your IBS symptoms. Just be sure to use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in your smoothies that contain no added sugar, as refined and even artificial sugars (i.e., aspartame) are known IBS triggers. Many IBS patients also have issues with the consumption of raw fruits and veggies so parboiled and frozen may be easier on your digestive system. Smoothies are also a great way to incorporate some of the probiotic foods mentioned above (i.e., kefir and yogurt).

4. Low FODMAP foods
If you suffer from IBS a known trigger food source is likely FODMAP type foods. FODMAPs, (which stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) are a type of carbohydrate that likes to stick around and ferment within the gut, an obvious pain for IBS sufferers. In fact, research published by WebMD notes that 3 out of 4 IBS sufferers reported significant improvement of symptoms after a week on the low-FODMAP diet. So consume low FODMAP foods such as bell peppers, carrots, lettuce, tomato, eggplant, ginger, green beans, cucumber, potatoes, oranges, grapes, bananas, strawberries, lactose free hard cheeses (i.e., feta), and lean chicken, fish, beef, and eggs. Avoid the following FODMAP trigger foods:

  • Fructans: Onions, garlic, and wheat.
  • Fructose: such as agave, high fructose corn syrup, honey, and raw fruits.
  • Galactans: such as beans and legumes.
  • Polyols: such as fruits with pits or seeds (i.e., peaches, cherries, figs, apples, plums, and avocados).
  • Lactose: or dairy products (i.e., cheese, butter, cow milk, etc.).