IBS diet: Three healthy greens to avoid or risk uncomfortable symptoms

Dr Michael Mosley's radical new dieting approach

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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk about the bowel condition is registered nutritionist Melissa Snover – and the first thing she wants you to know is that some healthy foods could be making your symptoms worse. “High FODMAP foods such as asparagus, broccoli, and avocados should be avoided,” Snover cautioned. FODMAP – short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols – can cause irritation in the gut.

Other high FODMAP foods to avoid include: cauliflower, mushrooms, celery, onions, lentils, garlic, almonds, and cashew nuts.

Experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine stated that research implies that follow a low FODMAP diet “reduces symptoms in up to 86 percent of people”.

The symptoms of IBS, as pointed out by the NHS, might include:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Farting
  • Passing mucus from the bottom
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Backache
  • Bowel incontinence.

While following the FODMAP diet can be effective, it should only be considered as a short-term strategy.

Doctor Hazel Galon Veloso – a gastroenterologist – elaborated: “The low FODMAP diet is a temporary eating plan that’s very restrictive.

“It’s always good to talk to your doctor before starting a new diet, but especially with the low FODMAP diet since it eliminates so many foods.”

Doctor Veloso emphasised: “It’s not a diet anyone should follow for long.”

The “elimination diet”, as it’s known as, requires you to slowly reintroduce high FODMAP foods to figure out which ones specifically trigger your IBS.

“It’s a short discovery process to determine what foods are troublesome for you,” Doctor Veloso added.

Nutritionist Snover said: “A low-FODMAP diet that includes lactose-free dairy products, quinoa, rice, bananas, blueberries, oranges, carrots, kale, spinach, potato, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds may help to alleviate abdominal pain.”

Snover also recommends eating “five or six small meals a day” to help control IBS symptoms.

She clarified: “Developing a regular eating pattern can help our digestive system know when to anticipate meals, which can help lessen IBS symptoms.

“Following a meal plan at specified times of the day, and avoiding missing, skipping, or leaving extended gaps between mealtimes, is therefore effective in avoiding IBS flare-ups.”

Snover added that you should “limit fresh fruit to three portions per day”.

“This may come as a surprise as it steers away from the usual healthy eating recommendations,” Snover made clear.

“But fruit also contains the sugar fructose, which can cause issues for IBS sufferers.”

It is for this reason that Snover suggests limiting your consumption of apples and pears, which are “particularly high in fructose”.

“Otherwise, continue to eat other healthy foods such as vegetables to ensure you get your daily nutrients,” she added.

Melissa Snover is a registered nutritionist and founder of 3D-printed personalised vitamin brand, Nourished.

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