Dairy Do’s and Don’ts
Milk and other dairy products can trigger IBS flare-ups, but there is one milk product that might offer some benefits: yogurt. If your IBS is accompanied by diarrhea, it’s likely you’ve lost a good deal of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, which helps balance out the bad stuff. Yogurt is loaded with probiotics, or bacteria that facilitate smooth digestion, so eating yogurt regularly will replenish what you’ve flushed in your trips to the bathroom.
See Also: What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Don’t Buy That!
You might already know that the herb St. John’s wort can be an effective natural treatment for depression. Since antidepressants are often used to treat IBS, patients seeking a cheaper, safe alternative might hope that the herbal supplement would have similar effects on digestion. Unfortunately, a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology proved that St. John’s wort is not only ineffective for IBS, it can even make the symptoms worse. Money saved: $10-20.
Used medicinally for thousands of years, ginger is an all-around digestive powerhouse that can help soothe symptoms of IBS. Pick up fresh gingerroot at the grocery store, and prepare this easy, delicious tea several times a day: Grate a teaspoon or so of fresh ginger and place in a tea infuser. Add boiling water and steep for 10 minutes, then drink for relief. Don’t have fresh ginger? Try ginger tea.
If your IBS causes persistent diarrhea, try adding shredded coconut or coconut oil to your tummy-taming regimen. Add a few teaspoons shredded coconut to your breakfast cereal, or bake up wholesome coconut macaroons. It’s suspected that the healthy fatty acids in coconut oil are the secret weapon in calming the aggravated bowels. But don’t overindulge: Too much coconut might lead to constipation.
Not only is turmeric a tasty spice found in Indian food and other South Asian cuisines, it’s also been used for millennia to treat liver, skin, and digestive conditions. Turmeric root contains curcumin, a chemical shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can soothe stomach upset, such as that experienced with irritable bowel syndrome. Simply sprinkle ground turmeric generously into soups, pastas, rice, and stews—or anything you like with a little spice. If you’re taking blood thinners or any anticoagulants, speak with your doctor before consuming turmeric.
The calming effects of peppermint make it a miracle worker for head pain, skin inflammations, and digestive distress. For IBS symptoms, peppermint tea is a fantastic stomach soother: It relaxes your intestines and helps alleviate painful gas. Brew up a cup of peppermint tea two or three times a day. It can both prevent and relieve IBS-related stress.