We can begin by eliminating milk and milk products from our diet. Usually, people with IBS are found to be deficient in lactose, the enzyme that digests the sugar present in milk. Undigested lactose in the body gets fermented by the bacteria present in the gut, which causes bloating, pain, and cramps.
We can gradually increase the fiber content in our diet. Fiber helps in making the stools bulky and waterlogged, enabling them to pass easily. If diarrhea is the main symptom, we must eat ripe banana, apples, curd, and pureed vegetables. These contain soluble fiber that proves useful, especially to manage diarrhea. For instance, the pectin present in apples and carrots is known to possess stool binding properties. If constipation is the main symptom, we need to increase our intake of insoluble fiber. This is present in whole grains such as oats (jav), bajri, jowar, makai atta, ragi, and wheat bran.
We must never rush through our meals. Eat slowly and chew our food thoroughly. Not only does this help in digestion, but it also helps ease any discomfort we might be experiencing in the digestion process. We must eat smaller and more frequent meals rather than have two big meals. Many people have the habit of sipping water with their meals. A person with IBS has to ensure that he/she does not sip any fluids including water with their meals. Gluten, which is a protein present in wheat, has often been found to disturb the mobility of the GI tract. Although it’s not a definite way to manage, some people do experience relief by eliminating wheat and wheat products from their diet since this helps ease symptoms of indigestion and bloating. We must avoid overloading our GI tract with food. We may feel better by eating frequent small meals rather than two big meals.
Aloe vera juice has a healing effect on the digestive tract. We must take half a cup of aloe vera juice on empty stomach. It improves our digestion and reduces acidity, gas, and bloating. It is very important to practice pranayama, deep breathing exercises used in yoga. Shallow breathing reduces the oxygenation to the tissues, which in turn affects bowel function.
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IBS is usually linked to anxiety and stress. Some people internalize stress, which in turn affects their digestion and GI tract. Learning to ‘take-it-easy’, ‘de-stress’ and ‘meditate’ can prove to be of great value for anyone who suffers from IBS.