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How to Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diet

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If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know about all the challenges, both in diagnosis and treatment. It's a condition that is very difficult to pinpoint. Many people start by looking to diet to control their symptoms.

Here are some suggestions to help you get your IBS under control by making some simple dietary changes.

No matter what your symptoms, start by keeping a food journal for two weeks. Include not only every food and beverage you consume but also how you feel at different points during the day. Keep a notebook with you so you can write at any time, or a laptop if you prefer to keep records online. Remembering everything you ate and how you felt is difficult even 24 hours later, so writing in your food journal as soon as possible after you eat is crucial.

You may notice patterns in the worsening of your symptoms just after taking this one step. If so, start excluding the problematic foods one by one, for at least a few days at a time, to see if things improve. Some of the most common foods to start excluding are:

artificial sweeteners
carbonated drinks
fried foods
poultry skin and dark meat
gluten-containing foods
egg yolks
red meat

But this just lets you know what you can't eat. What's left? Go back to your journal and look at what you were eating when you felt good and your symptoms were less severe.

Foods that are safe for most people with IBS include bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots. If you can, try the whole grain versions of breads, pastas and rice, but some people cannot tolerate these. Try to center your diet around whole fruits and vegetables that you can eat without worsening your symptoms. Doing so will also reduce your chances of getting other diseases like heart disease and cancer.

It's also important to limit the fat in your diet, and make sure that most of the fat you do consume is monounsaturated, such as that in olive oil.

East small quantities of food more frequently to prevent severe symptoms.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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