Ease Your Irritable Bowel Symptoms
Date Posted: 23.01.2013
Q: My doctor says I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which affects me as constipation or diarrhoea, often with bloating and sometimes stomach cramps. What can I do to help prevent it ?
A: Up to one person in five is affected by this distressing problem, with more women than men diagnosed, according to women’s health expert and qualified nutritionist Marilyn Glenville (marilynglenville.com), whose book on IBS will be published in February.
She suggests these quick helpers.
-Drink peppermint, fennel and camomile tea. Sip peppermint after a meal. Research shows it can eliminate or reduce spasms, bloating, trapped wind, constipation and diarrhoea. Fennel helps prevent and reduce flatulence and bloating.
-Camomile is calming before bedtime to relax both body and mind: it can control ‘nervous’ reactions in the gut, and is less sensitive to food and other triggers. Try Pukka Herbs teabags, available at supermarkets and health food stores.
-Consume natural, organic yoghurt, which is an excellent gut soother. Full fat is fine but yoghurt must be sugar- and sweetener-free.
-Add one tablespoon of organic ground flaxseeds to oat porridge in the morning, or take the same amount in water. If you have diarrhoea predominantly, try one teaspoon to see how your gut reacts.
-Avoid fizzy drinks, both alcoholic and non. They are often triggers for digestive problems. Also, avoid too much Christmas cake or pudding (dried fruit sets off many people) and other sugary foods.
-Stress makes IBS worse. If things get tense, go for a walk or try meditating, which has been shown to help flatulence, bloating and diarrhoea.
-Chew, chew, chew. Digestion begins in your mouth and how well the rest of the journey goes depends on that. Take time to eat small mouthfuls; avoid talking with your mouth full (it causes belching) and drinking too much with food as that dilutes important enzymes in your saliva.