Living with irritable bowel syndrome can be very tough. It’s a chronic disease that affects the digestive tract of a person. Certain foods, illnesses, or following unhealthy dietary patterns can cause symptoms to flare up. While symptoms might not be the same for everyone, a few of them are very common. They include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and other gastrointestinal problems.

To avoid this, the best dietary tips for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients can follow are listed out in this article:

1. Keep a food journal
One of the best dietary tips irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients can follow is to record what they’ve eaten. Mention the food, the date and time you’ve consumed it, and any effects it has produced. Doing so will help you determine if that particular food is a trigger for your IBS and should be avoided. You can even do an elimination trial to check for triggers. Just cut out the food you feel causes the symptoms to see if you’re getting better. Then reintroduce it into your diet again. If the symptoms reoccur, then it is a trigger food for IBS.

2. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids is among the top dietary tips irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients can follow. Experts recommend drinking at least 1.5 to 3 liters of water every day. It helps reduce symptoms like constipation and bloating.

3. Cut out fats from the diet
Consuming a lot of fatty and processed foods can worsen IBS symptoms. Therefore, reduce your intake of fried food, pastries, milk chocolate, high-fat cheese, etc. Even red meat like spareribs, beef, sausages, and bacon is rich in fats and needs to be avoided. You can substitute red meat with lean meat like fish and chicken without the skin. Also, try baking your food instead of frying. And if frying is necessary, use a vegetable oil like sunflower oil, olive oil, etc., rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Another dietary tip for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is to reduce their consumption of colas, tea, fizzy drinks, and coffee. These drinks are rich in caffeine that irritates the gastrointestinal tract, making IBS symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea worse. Also, alcohol should be avoided for the same reason.

5. Follow a low FODMAP diet
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. They are a group of foods that the stomach finds very hard to digest. Consuming them can worsen the symptoms of IBS like bloating and constipation. Some of the foods to avoid when you’re on a low FODMAP diet are onions, garlic, artificial sweeteners, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, dried foods, and more.

6. Get the right amount of fiber
Too little fiber in your diet can lead to constipation, while too much of it can cause diarrhea. The trick is to get the right amount of fiber. The best way to do this is by eating lots of soluble fiber like that present in oats, fruits, and vegetables. It helps manage both these IBS symptoms.

Avoiding certain trigger foods and following these dietary tips for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can help you manage the condition. But if these dietary changes do not help and your symptoms are getting worse every day, it’s best to see a physician. You can even seek the help of a professional dietician to chart out an IBS diet plan.