Many people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) who follow a plant based diet can find that a vegetarian diet can be difficult to stick to. This is because a vegetarian diet is typically a fiber rich diet that contains a lot of indigestible material. This indigestible portion of the diet can irritate the bowel causing problems like bloating, gas, cramps, constipation, and diarrhea and so on.
We look at how one can be vegetarian and still not exacerbate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while at the same time ensuring that one gets the requisite nutrients from the diet.
Food to avoid
If your diet is largely made up of food that is processed and refined, then you will need to make significant changes in your diet. As far as possible, cut out items contain a lot of sugar, refined starch and so on. Even fried and fatty foods could be making the symptoms worse.
Try a gluten free diet. Many nutritionists recommend switching to a gluten free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that is known to be difficult to digest and one of the culprits responsible for triggering the symptoms of IBS. Switching to a gluten free diet helps many people overcome their IBS symptoms to a very large extent.
Cutting down on grain
And it isn’t just wheat, cutting down on grains in general can help to manage IBS. Rice is generally easier to digest than wheat and wheat based foods since it doesn’t contain gluten the way that wheat does. But rice is a starchy food just the same, and can still cause problems for those who have IBS. One is also more likely to over-eat a grains based meal, and this can add to the indigestion and feelings of discomfort. So cutting down on grains overall or at least reducing portion sizes significantly can help to alleviate IBS symptoms.
Things to include
If you’re not strictly vegetarian and permit yourself to have diary, yoghurt with live cultures could help with digestion because it contains beneficial bacteria.
Cultured beans or legumes such as tempeh also contain beneficial bacteria that actually pre-digest food and make it that much easier for the gut to digest the food.
Eat plenty of leafy greens, seeds, and easy to digest foods such as bananas, plantains, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and so on.