People with IBS can shutter at the thought of cleansing. The last thing they want to do is spend all day in the restroom, fearing that they won’t be able to control their bowels if they leave. Cleansing can be tough, and almost everyone struggles during the first few days. That being said, the accompanying diet to the cleanse, which focuses on plant-based, nutrient-dense foods, is free of the foods that typically worsen symptoms of IBS.
What Causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is not known, but the theory is that it is attributed to a combination of circumstances. The intestinal walls are lined with a layer of muscles, which contract and relax in unison as food enters the intestines from the stomach. If you are affected by IBS, these contractions can be stronger or weaker. Strong contractions can induce bloating, gas, or diarrhea, while weaker contractions may slow the digestive process and lead to constipation. Common causes are:
- The foods you eat
- Hormonal changes
- Bacterial overgrowth in the intestines
- Dietary allergies
- Infectious diarrhea
Foods To Avoid If You Have IBS:
A healthy diet plays are large role in one’s ability to manage IBS symptoms, while unhealthy foods can trigger symptoms. Symptoms will vary because each person will reach to foods differently, based on the severity of the condition. Nutritionists advise that people with IBS should avoid the following foods if they want to manage symptoms:
- Gluten (commonly causes diarrhea in IBS patients, a high percentage of which are gluten intolerant)
- Fried foods (frying food changes the chemical makeup, and makes it more difficult to digest)
- Processed foods (processed foods contain additives and preservatives that can trigger flare-ups)
- Dairy products (most people with IBS are lactose intolerant, but dairy also contains fat, which can increase diarrhea)
- Chocolate (chocolate candies have a high concentration of sugar and caffeine, two things that trigger IBS symptoms)
- Alcohol (IBS patients who drink are in big trouble because it can dehydrate the body, affect liver function, and impair digestion)
Foods To Focus On If You Have IBS:
There is a lot of old news about things that you should eat if you have IBS. People with IBS should focus on certain fresh vegetables, fiber, fruits, and dairy-free alternatives like almond milk or cashew milk. It can be beneficial to consume the following foods if you have IBS:
- Prebiotics (these foods, which include asparagus, leeks, mango, carrots, bell peppers, cabbage, apples, and bananas, help to improve immune health and establish healthier gut flora)
- Water (the importance of water cannot be stressed enough because water is necessary for a healthy digestive system)
- Raw apple cider vinegar (many anecdotal reports have shown that apple cider vinegar helps to establish healthier pH levels in the gut)
- Probiotics (these work in conjunction with prebiotics to help improve gut flora, and these foods include kimchi, fermented vegetables, and non-processed sauerkraut)
- Fruits (like kiwi, honeydew, cantaloupe, and berries)
- Vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, bok choy, turnips, and sweet potatoes)
How Does Cleansing Help IBS?
Cleansing is beneficial for the entire body, especially for the digestive system. Many foods in the Standard American Diet are hard for the body to process, and they can accumulate in the digestive tract. This waste accumulation can aggravate IBS symptoms, so cleansing them from the digestive tract has been known to aid people with IBS. It is also worth noting that cleansing the body is extremely beneficial for the liver, which is the primary detoxification organ.
It’s All About The Liver:
The liver can become overworked because people consume more toxins than it can process. An overworked liver can become sluggish or impaired, leading to symptoms like nausea, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, and even IBS symptoms. The liver can become overwhelmed by simple carbs, sugars, stress, and pharmaceuticals. Cleansing can assist the liver and help it relax, in addition to stimulating bile flow. In case you didn’t know, healthy bile flow assists with regular bowel movements and the digestion of fats. You may find that your IBS symptoms drastically reduce as your liver becomes less taxed and healthier.
Each person with IBS may react differently to cleansing. It may be more beneficial for some and not as beneficial for others. The main takeaway is that the digestive system is complex and you need to get to know your body for healing to begin.