Tired of dreading each meal out of fear you’ll need to run to the bathroom shortly after? For those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps and gas) tend to get worse following a meal.
“Diet has a major impact on IBS symptoms,” says Leslie Shaw, RD, of the Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease Institute. People with this disorder often find relief by changing how they eat and what they eat.
Write It Down
“Food triggers vary from person to person,” Shaw says. “It takes some time and effort to learn what foods are considered ‘safe’ for you and which ones provoke symptoms,” she says.
Start by keeping a food diary. Put a notebook in the kitchen and another one in your purse or pocket, and write down everything that you eat every day for one month. Include portion sizes and how your belly feels for the remainder of the day. Write down any symptoms. This information can help you and your registered dietitian or doctor come up with an eating plan that works.
Pull the Triggers from Your Diet
Even though people with irritable bowel syndrome react to different foods with different symptoms, there are a few common dietary denominators. As you keep your food diary, take particular note of how you react to the following:
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