“While we don’t have a concrete cause for why people develop IBS, we know that diet plays a major role,” explains Dr. Sokol. “Fatty foods, artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, red meat, dairy products, chocolate, alcohol and carbonated beverages may trigger or aggravate episodes in some people. Gluten contained in wheat and barley can also be a problem for some people with IBS.”
To help you enjoy your picnic or barbecue this weekend, Dr. Sokol suggests the following tips:
Know your trigger foods - If you’re not sure what foods upset your stomach, start a food diary, advises Dr. Sokol. Write down everything you eat and drink, plus any symptoms you have and when they occur. Then see if there is a pattern.
Choose water - Beer, iced tea and soda are common outdoor beverages during the summer months, but alcohol and caffeine are culprits for IBS. Carbonation can also contribute to bloating in IBS sufferers. Instead, stay hydrated with still water and add lemon for flavor and help with digestion.
Limit your fat intake - Fried and fatty foods, such as hamburgers and fried chicken slow down your digestive system and can cause cramping and abdominal pain in some IBS sufferers. Dr. Sokol suggests buying lean meat with the lowest fat percentage you can find. Grilled chicken and fish are safe options.
Don’t scream for ice cream - Dairy products can be a problem for people with IBS if they have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk. If this is the case for you, steer clear of cheese on your burgers, ice cream and the like. Italian ice and sorbet are good alternatives.
Think big, eat small - For IBS suffers, an overstuffed stomach is more likely to result in cramping and dia
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