This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet For IBS [UK]: What Is It & Foods List In 2023
Living with irritable bowel syndrome, also called IBS, can be challenging. The condition often causes discomfort and digestive issues. Some people successfully manage their symptoms by eating an anti-inflammatory diet for IBS. By eating foods that promote gut health and avoiding those that trigger symptoms, they’re able to stay on top of their condition.
The exact cause of IBS remains unknown. Several different problems likely contribute to the condition. These include issues with how the brain and gut interact and food sensitivities. People are more likely to develop IBS if they consume an inflammatory diet. Likewise, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help to manage symptoms. Discover more about foods for IBS below.
Irritable bowel syndrome can cause annoying and sometimes painful symptoms. Many people with the condition find relief by eating an anti-inflammatory diet for IBS.
IBS diet meal plans can still include delicious dishes, such as tray bakes, soups, fried rice, and pasta. Keep a food and symptom diary and slowly introduce new foods to find out which ingredients work best for you.
Exercise, stress management, and staying hydrated can also help reduce IBS symptoms.
Different Types Of IBS
IBS is a chronic gut condition that can cause debilitating symptoms. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include digestive symptoms, intestinal discomfort, and pain elsewhere in the body. The main signs of IBS include:
Some symptoms are more common depending on the type of IBS you have. There are three main forms of the condition:
- IBS-D: This stands for diarrhea-predominant IBS and features diarrhea as a major symptom. The exact causes of IBS-D are unknown. One possible cause is rapid intestinal contractions, causing stool to move through the body too quickly for sufficient water absorption.
- IBS-C: This stands for constipation-predominant IBS and might be caused by the slow movement of stool through the intestines. IBS-C symptoms include constipation, bloating, and stomach discomfort.
- IBS-mixed: As the name suggests, this form of IBS involves varying symptoms of diarrhea and constipation.
What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Diet For IBS?
IBS patients are often recommended to follow a low FODMAP diet to improve their digestive symptoms. This way of eating benefits the digestive tract by avoiding high-FODMAP foods that contain hard-to-digest carbohydrates.
Research shows that this diet improves IBS symptoms – especially abdominal pain and bloating. However, it is a restrictive diet and can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies. Also, its ability to reduce gut inflammation isn’t clear.
Although IBS isn’t an inflammatory condition, inflammation might play a role. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to a low FODMAP diet plan can help reduce chronic inflammation and aid digestion. Discover the foods to include and avoid below.
Foods To Include
There are many delicious foods that have a place in an anti-inflammatory, low-FODMAP IBS diet.
Aim for a predominantly whole food plant-based diet. Whole plant-based foods contain antioxidants and other plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Probiotic foods contain beneficial bacteria. They can improve gut health by helping balance gut bacteria. Studies suggest probiotic yogurt may also reduce homocysteine levels – an inflammatory marker – in those with IBS. So try including high-protein yogurt as a probiotic for IBS.
This is not an exhaustive list, but some foods to include are:
- Fruits such as coconut, kiwi, and papaya.
- Vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, and potato.
- Seafood, including tuna, salmon, and shrimp.
- Wheat-free bread.
- Protein-rich foods such as eggs and tofu.
- Whole grains such as brown rice and oat.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds and chia seeds.
- Condiments such as peanut butter and tahini.
Foods To Avoid
A pro-inflammatory diet might exacerbate symptoms such as bloating. Try to avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as meat, processed foods, and refined grains. This might be in addition to avoiding high-FODMAP foods such as:
- Fruits, including apples and pears.
- Vegetables including asparagus, onions, and garlic.
- Beans and lentils.
- High-lactose dairy products such as milk.
- Wheat-containing bread and cereal.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan For IBS
Below, we’ll walk you through an anti-inflammatory diet plan for IBS. If you’re pressed for time, consider seeking out meal delivery services to help you stick to a healthy, balanced diet.
Breakfast: Make a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk and strawberries. Top with Greek yogurt and hemp seeds for added healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Lunch: Mix 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and drizzle over a bowl of spinach. Make a sandwich with the dressed spinach using a slice of smoked salmon and spelt sourdough bread or any gluten-free bread.
Snack: A mixed handful of macadamia nuts and a handful of dried cranberries. Cranberries offer anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Dinner: A tray bake of sweet potato wedges, chicken breast, and fresh tomatoes. Garnish with cilantro and basil.
Breakfast: Blend one kiwi fruit with 2 tablespoons of water, 1 cucumber, and 2 cups of leafy green vegetables. Add 30g of hulled hemp seeds. Use this hydrating beverage to wash down your IBS supplements.
Lunch: Make a tuna salad with canned tuna, chopped basil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Diets including fatty fish such as tuna are associated with lower inflammation.
Snack: Pulse puffed rice and shredded coconut in a food processor. Add dark chocolate chips and maple syrup and pulse again. Form the mixture into small balls and let them sit in the fridge for 4 hours.
Dinner: Make 1 cup of brown rice pasta and mix it with tomato pasta sauce and basil. Cube and fry half a block of tofu in 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. Slice and add this protein source to your dish.
Breakfast: Make an omelet using two large eggs. Add ¼ cup feta cheese and ¼ cup sliced olives for a Mediterranean twist.
Lunch: Season minced beef with oregano and paprika. Top your gluten-free tacos with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato, and avocado.
Snack: Add a small number of pine nuts to a dairy-free yogurt and sweeten it with stevia.
Dinner: Fry up cooked brown rice with eggs, grated carrots, and soy sauce. Top with finely sliced spring onions.
Breakfast: Toast a gluten-free bagel and spread it on peanut butter and unsweetened strawberry jam. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Lunch: Slice up carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, and cabbage. Then, cook ¼ cup of brown rice and 100g of salmon. Mix well and dress with ¾ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Snack: Thinly slice up some zucchini and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with ¼ tablespoon of rosemary and ¼ tablespoon of oregano. Bake in the oven at 235 F and bake for 1 ½ hours.
Dinner: Turmeric provides anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit people with IBS. Leverage this ancient herb in a dish of chicken turmeric rice with vegetables.
Tips To Follow An IBS Diet Plan
Navigating the best diet for IBS can be challenging at best. We recommend consulting a registered dietitian for safe, personalized advice.
In the meantime, the tips below can help you find out which foods work best for you:
- Keep a food diary: Note down exactly what you ate and how you felt after each meal. Was your abdominal cramping or diarrhea worse? Did certain foods reduce or trigger symptoms?
- Gradually re-introduce foods: Start basic and slowly introduce new foods. This will help you identify problematic ingredients.
- Meal prep: Spend a few hours each week preparing as many meals as you can. This will save time and minimize the chances of abandoning your diet.
Other Ways To Ease Your IBS Symptoms
Diet plays an important role in IBS. However, there are several other ways to reduce inflammation and manage IBS symptoms:
- Stay hydrated: The evidence is sparse, but staying on top of your water intake may help manage IBS symptoms.
- Manage stress: Stress can worsen IBS symptoms. Try stress management techniques, such as mindfulness.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help to tackle IBS symptoms. Stay active any way you can, from lifting weights to going for a walk. Don’t overdo it; research suggests that overdoing endurance sports can negatively impact gut microbiome balance.
- Eat breakfast: If you suffer from gut symptoms after eating, you might be tempted to skip meals. But research suggests that eating breakfast is linked to a lower risk of IBS.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These can irritate the gut lining and worsen IBS symptoms.
IBS causes symptoms that range from annoying to painful and debilitating. An anti-inflammatory diet can be an effective way of managing IBS symptoms for many people. IBS diet plans can also involve eating low-FODMAP foods.
Elimination diets such as the low-FODMAP diet are difficult to manage and can lead to nutrient deficiencies – and even worsen IBS symptoms – if not done properly. Consult a registered dietitian to get safe, personalized guidance.
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