Top 3 Foods to Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stomach Issues

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Top 3 Foods to Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stomach Issues

Top Three Foods for IBS

What is IBS?

IBS is a cluster of symptoms, including cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas.

The exact cause of IBS is not understood, leading to difficulties in treatment.
● It does appear that IBS is more common in more developed countries

Likely factors that may lead to IBS include:
● Intestinal microbiota imbalance
● Inflammation
● Intestinal infections
● Serotonin imbalance

One common recommendation is the low FODMAP diet, where one avoids foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates
● It is thought that these foods can lead to increased liquid in the intestine and then to diarrhea, as well as bloating and gas
● Restrictive diet where it is nearly impossible to get sufficient vitamins and minerals
● No conclusive research showing this to help

Different foods may cause symptoms for different people
● Pay attention to personal triggers
● Keeping a food journal can help

If there is no exact science as to what foods to avoid, is there any supporting foods to consume?

Top 3 Foods for IBS

1. Turmeric

Curcumin, the most active component of turmeric, displays the following health benefits:
● Anti-inflammatory properties
● Anti-bacterial properties
● Spasmolytic activities

Case Study

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that turmeric extract improved IBS symptoms; the study was not placebo controlled

207 volunteers with IBS were given either one or two tablets of turmeric extract daily for 8 weeks and then reported their symptoms.

A significant reduction in reported pain and symptoms occurred, however there was no difference between the groups. Roughly ⅔ of participants reported a decrease in their symptoms following treatment.

2. Peppermint Oil

Many studies exists showing the potential for improvement of IBS symptoms with peppermint oil

Case Study

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology reviewed peer reviewed published studies on peppermint oil and IBS symptoms and found peppermint oil more effective than placebo for improvement of both abdominal pain and global IBS symptoms

One possible problem with peppermint oil is an increase in heartburn symptoms, although this side effect occurred less frequently than did improvement of IBS symptoms, so still good for most of those who suffer with IBS.


It is well known that the population of gut bacteria can have an impact on our health

People with IBS usually have gut flora that has changed, so foods that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut is likely to help IBS symptoms

Case Study

A 2000 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found an improvement in IBS symptoms

Recruited 60 otherwise healthy patients with IBS and split them into a control group and a test group. The test group received Lactobacillus plantarum daily for 4 weeks.

The test group experienced improved flatulence during the 4 weeks and better GI function when compared to the control group 12 months after the experiment.

Lactobacillus plantarum is the most prevalent bacteria found in sauerkraut, a food made from fermented cabbage.

Other probiotic foods include miso, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and coconut kefir


1. Herbal medicines for the management of irritable bowel syndrome: a comprehensive review

2. Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study

3. Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis

4. Irritable bowel syndrome: what helps – and what doesn’t

6. Alteration of intestinal microflora is associated with reduction in abdominal bloating and pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

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