There is a lot of buzz these days surrounding terms like “clean eating” as opposed to more restrictive sounding terms like “dieting.” The clean eating movement certainly has a lot of merit and can solve more problems than just losing a little extra weight. It can actually help with controlling symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating sounds fancy, but it’s a fairly basic concept. Typical dieting usually refers to eliminating or lowering the amounts of certain types of food you eat. This could include goals like lowering calories, restricting your fat intake, not eating carbs, or making sure to bulk up on protein. Rather, clean eating focuses more on eliminating heavily processed foods from your meal plans and instead focusing on food that is in its most natural state, like fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains. While it’s nearly impossible to eat a diet of completely non-processed foods, you can drastically alter what you’re eating with even a little bit of effort.
What Does This Have To Do With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that refers to a disorder of the large intestine. It’s a chronic condition with no known precise cause, and it can differ from person to person in both how it starts and how it manifests itself. Typical symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and cramping, excess gas, and either diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms can be triggered by food, stress, or even hormones. The biggest trigger of IBS is food. Although the reason for this link isn’t firmly established, many people who suffer from IBS can pinpoint a symptom flare-up to something that they ate. IBS mostly occurs in women under age 50, and is associated with a family history of the disease.
How Can I Make IBS More Bearable?
If you already suffer from IBS, you may be able to associate how you feel on a daily basis to what you ate. If this is the case, you’re certainly not alone, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The study concluded that there is a link between IBS and ultra-processed foods, generally recognized as shelf-durable packaged foods and those containing a lot of additives.
How Can I Clean Up What I Eat?
The concept of clean eating may sound daunting if you’re used to the convenience of packaged and ready-to-eat foods. It’s certainly not an all or nothing approach, and you can make small steps and do it gradually while still achieving results. To put it in simple terms, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Choose fresh fruit instead of canned or dried, and add veggies to your diet. Frozen and canned choices are also good, provided that they don’t have added sauce, salt, or sugar. If you’re looking for some whole grain options, you can go for brown rice, farro, oats, or barley. Even though things like bread and English muffins are processed, if you find some with no sugar added where whole-wheat flour is at the top of the ingredient list. To get your protein, stick with plain yogurt and cheese, eggs, and make sure your meat and seafood are minimally processed. Try to stick to mostly drinking water, and you can add some fruit to it if you want a little extra flavor. If you’re suffering from IBS or suspect that you might be, make an appointment with Dr. Sameer Islam and learn more about the disease and how controlling what you eat can make a significant difference.