Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a frustrating and often painful condition that affects a huge number of people. Some people find that their IBS is triggered by stress or anxiety, others have bouts triggered when they take certain medications, or find that infections can cause a flare-up. There are also a lot of people that have food or drink related triggers.
What to Avoid If You Have IBS
In general, fatty foods are very bad for people who have IBS. Red meats, egg yolks, and dairy products can trigger attacks. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol are bad for some people, and there can be issues with fruit juices too.
A lot of sufferers find that orange, grapefruit and tomato juice can make them feel like their stomachs are overly acidic.
Doctors recommend that if you have IBS you drink a lot of water and eat soluble fibers. However, drinking ice-cold water can aggravate IBS, and let’s face it, drinking room-temperature water is hardly pleasant. Many people find that cranberry juice and blueberry juice is a good alternative.
The Benefits of Cranberry Juice
It is well-known that cranberry juice is good for people who have urinary tract infections, but the benefit for IBS sufferers is less obvious.
The reason that cranberry juice is so popular as a home remedy for treating and preventing UTIs is that there is a component in the juice that helps to prevent bacteria from adhering to the wall of the urethra and also helps to flush bacteria out of the bladder itself too. This component is found in abundance in both blueberries and cranberries.
Most UTIs are caused by e-coli, and e-coli is often contained in fecal matter. A lot of people who suffer from IBS have frequent attacks of diarrhea, and this means that they are more at risk of suffering from UTIs, especially if their stools are loose and watery.
However, the benefits of drinking cranberry juice go beyond preventing secondary infections such as UTIs. Cranberries are easy to digest,taste pretty good, and are widely considered to be a super-food.
It is thought that they can help to boost the immune system, helping you to fight off flu and even prevent kidney stones from forming, or eliminate them if they do occur.
If you suffer from IBS and do not enjoy drinking plain water, then drinking cranberry juice could provide a lot of benefits thanks to the polyphenol antioxidants in the juice. There are some indications that these could help to fight cancers, and since the juice is not as acidic as citrus fruit juice it is easier for an IBS sufferer to tolerate.
Drinks to Avoid
IBS sufferers should avoid milk and cream, not just because of the lactose in those drinks – although people with IBS are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance, but also because of the fat content.
In addition, it is a good idea to avoid alcohol (which can aggravate a lot of stomach problems, and can cause dehydration), and any beverage with a lot of caffeine in it.
In general, it is not a good idea to drink soda, either. Highly sugary sodas can be rather acidic, and diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners which are problematic for other reasons. While some people can tolerate artificial sweeteners quite well, for many they are another trigger.
Monitoring your diet carefully, keeping a food diary, and trying to boost the levels of “good” bacteria in your stomach can all help with the symptoms of IBS. Consider eating foods with added probiotics, or supplementing probiotics if you cannot tolerate yogurt or “free from” milk substitutes at all.
IBS can be controlled. You do not have to limit your social life because of this condition. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor. They will be able to work with you to find the right medications and treatments to help you successfully control the condition so that you can eat out with confidence and live from day to day without constantly being in fear or experiencing a flare up. It may take a while to identify all of your triggers, but it will be worth the effort in the end.