Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an unpleasant condition which affects almost one sixth of the population. IBS can cause constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and general digestive discomfort. Unfortunately, IBS is an incredibly difficult condition to diagnose and treat. The list of possible triggers is huge and it can take a lot of trial and error to work out what is causing symptoms for individual patients.
How the Paleo Diet Helps with IBS
Two of the most common causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are floral imbalances and gut inflammation. These are both things that following the Paleo diet can help with. The Paleo diet encourages people to reduce the amount of processed foods that they consume and instead build their diet around free-range or grass-fed meats, nuts, organically grown fruits and vegetables and a limited amount of whole grains.
By eliminating most grains from your diet, you will start on a path to healing your gut. While you’re cleaning up your diet, consider other possible causes of inflammation – for example, if you are taking NSAIDs or other medications, ask your doctor if they may be causing stomach problems. It may be worth changing your medication to something that is friendlier to the stomach.
Dairy products are another common trigger for IBS. While they are not forbidden on the Paleo diet, it may be worth cutting down your intake for a short while. You can re-introduce dairy products if you find that your symptoms do not improve after a couple of weeks.
Other Foods to Avoid
The Paleo diet encourages people to eat nuts, as well as fruits and vegetables that are high in a group of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). Examples of foods containing FODMAPs include onions, cauliflower and apples.
FODMAPs are not harmful for people with a healthy digestive system. However, if your gut is sensitive then they can be a source of great discomfort. You may want to avoid these foods until you work out what your triggers are.
Enjoying a Paleo Diet with Restrictions During the early stages of managing your Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it may feel as though the list of foods that you are not allowed to eat is huge and that your diet is going to be incredibly bland and boring. That does not have to be the case.
There are lots of vegetables that do not contain FODMAPs and while you should avoid dairy products, you can still enjoy meat and fish. Most root vegetables are acceptable, as are coconuts, sweet potatoes and most fruits. Herbs are a good option for adding flavour to your cooking and buckwheat is all right in small quantities as part of a Paleo programme.
Keep a food diary and work out what you enjoy eating, what triggers your attacks and what leaves you feeling good. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover that your trigger is something simple, such as fructose or gluten, in which case you will be able to come up with a safe diet quite easily.