With IBS it is SO easy for food to become enemy #1. And mealtimes can become a minefield. [I lived this for years…] So, what are the best foods for IBS?
What are the best foods for IBS?
Traditionally, the best foods for IBS are ones that are on this low Fodmap list.
Or you can get the regularly updated Monash University app (they continue ongoing research into Fodmaps) and see what inspires you on there.
If you’re wondering: Fodmaps? What are they? Then check out this more detailed article on Fodmaps and food intolerance.
Above all, you need to experiment and see what works the best for YOU.
You may find that you digest cooked foods better than raw ones.
And cooking from scratch (wihtout inteference from additives, colourings and thickenings) will allow you to understand what you really digest.
Eat what you digest the best
Above EVERYTHING else, the best foods for IBS are the foods YOU digest the best.
Continuing to eat foods that you know you can’t tolerate – even if you think they’re HEALTHY or on some special list on a regular basis is a no-no. It will just set you up to lose.
But be nice to yourself too!
It IS hard having IBS, and feeling regularly deprived. I know would crave something every once in a while, or give myself what I wanted after a hard day at work.
We’re only human and that garlic bread can smell so enticing! So let yourself off the hook if you indulge – and then kick yourself.
And put whatever you fancied on a list of things you’re going to shamelessly tuck into when you’ve beaten IBS.
“What!” I hear you say, because that may sound impossible right now…. I’m living proof it is possible.
And I believe it’s possible for you too.
Which makes all this temporary, and a little easier to bear:)
Don’t force your body to eat “healthy” food
So you’ve heard that you need to have 5 fruit or veg per day to be healthy…
But you have a hard time digesting them.
By all means keep your diet as varied as you possibly can and vary the nutrients (and yes I know that with IBS, you may have very limited choices).
At the same time, don’t go force feeding yourself foods that your digestion cannot handle – in the name of “health”.
I repeat: The best foods to eat for IBS are the ones you digest (or what you digest the best). No forcing!
Sometimes the foods we digest the best aren’t particularly healthy.
For example, my go-to used to be French fries with bolognaise sauce and a glass of Diet Coke!
I don’t suggest having something like that for every meal, but when your body needs soothing, soothe it!
If you’re intolerant to a lot of foods
Many IBS sufferers are in this case, and find it increasingly difficult to find foods they digest.
If this is you, and you have have had digestive issues for over year, I would highly recommend that you get checked out for Candida and/or Sibo. Digestive issues can cause imbalance in your gut bacteria, hampering digestion. And it can be treated.
However there may be an underlying reason why you can’t digest your favourite food anymore, so it would be wise to check this out too!
Get some taste in there!
Nothing is worse for morale than consuming the same bland foods day in, day out.
With IBS it is best to eat food that is as tasty as you can make it, without sabotaging digestion.
Try garlic-infused oil
A majority of IBS sufferers don’t digest garlic, which is a shame because it boosts digestion – and gives food taste.
Instead of straight garlic, try using a garlic-infused oil: oil that has garlic in the bottle, where you get the flavor, but not the garlic.
If you want to make sure there are no preservatives, just add a few garlic cloves to a bottle of olive oil, and dribble onto food at the end of cooking (olive oil is not suitable for frying).
Lemon can be a great ally. If you use an organic lemon, you can use the juice and the zest to give your food some zing.
Use IBS-friendly herbs
There are some tasty herbs that are also good for digestion.
I put rosemary in some dauphinoise potatoes, and it was surprisingly good.
You may not know how to use herbs in cooking – but you can learn.
The best thing is to have them around, because you’ll be more likely to use them.
If you’re worried about food and getting enough nutrients to stay healthy, check out this article. You may find you’re doing better than you think!
What if IBS wasn’t just about food?
From my own experience, I discovered that food was just ONE of my IBS triggers.
That’s why you can suddenly experience a flare-up, even when you have eaten what you usually digest.
Because there are other factors at play!3