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Food swaps to avoid IBS

Grilled salmon with spring onion and tomatoes
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Feeling occasionally bloated after a festive period or celebratory weekend is quite normal, but if you regularly feel bloated, it may be caused by your diet or a digestive issue. This IBS awareness month, we’ve looked at some easy adjustments you can make to your diet to ease symptoms of IBS such as bloating, cramps or diarrhoea and to help you feel more comfortable.

Easing bloating and cramps

If your IBS manifests with bloating or cramping, the NHS recommends:

  • Eating oats regularly - a bowl of porridge each morning is easy to incorporate into your diet
  • Eat up to 1 tablespoon of linseeds a day - why not sprinkle on top of a salad?
  • Foods like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions and dried fruits can be hard to digest so try to avoid them
  • Avoid products containing a sweetener called sorbitol
  • Speak to your local pharmacist about medicines that can help

Avoiding diarrhoea

If diarrhoea is one of the symptoms you experience with IBS the NHS advises the following:

  • Cutting down on high-fibre foods like brown bread and brown rice
  • Ask your local pharmacist about medicines that can help
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Easy food swaps to make

If you go to see a GP or dietitian about your IBS symptoms, they may recommend you follow a low FODMAP diet; avoiding foods that aren’t easily broken down by the gut. 

Here are a couple of easy swaps you can make when following a low FODMAP diet:

Swap this For that
Wholemeal bread Swap for wholemeal sourdough
White pasta Swap for wheat pasta
Onion Swap for the green tops (not the white parts) of spring onion of leek- use in your cooking just like onion.  Or, you can swap onion for chives- both fresh and dried will work well
Ripe bananas Swap for firm bananas- perfect for chopping up in porridge or smoothies
Nectarines Swap for a medium orange
Dairy Swap for lactose-free alternatives
High FODMAP cereal Swap for porridge, it breaks down more slowly and is a good source of soluble fibre
 Ready-made sauces Swap supermarket sauces for homemade versions so you can ensure they don't contain onion, milk or cream.

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References

www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/remedies-for-bloating-and-wind
www.nhs.uk/conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs/diet-lifestyle-and-medicines
www.nhs.uk/conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs/further-help-and-support
www.fodmapfriendly.com/blogpost/swaps/