Guest Blog by Kirsten Tremlett of Byron Wellbeing Retreats

How to beat IBS

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects around 25% of Australians, most of which are women. Symptoms include diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, wind, bloating, and nausea. While these symptoms may be distressing, the good news is that IBS does not cause other bowel problems, such as cancer or colitis.
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Thankfully, dietary changes and stress management techniques can improve IBS. Factors known to trigger IBS include emotional stress, certain foods, food intolerances, and gut infections (E coli).
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The following tips will help you manage or eliminate these unpleasant symptoms:
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TAKE PROBIOTICS: Colonise your gut with these healthy bacteria to boost immunity, improve digestion and increase resistance to gastro-intestinal infections. Take Lactobacillus capsules (10-30 billion bacteria) daily.
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AVOID SUSPECT FOODS: Many sufferers of IBS are lactose and gluten intolerant. Other common food culprits are simple sugars, sorbitol, fructose, coffee, cola, tea, chocolate, onions, citrus, spicy foods, and the ‘gassy’ veggies such as cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli. Keep a food diary and record daily foods eaten, stress levels, and symptoms.
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EAT MORE FIBRE: Eat plenty of insoluble fibre found in greens, been, and pulses. This bulks up faecal matter and speeds up its passage through the intestines. Water soluble fibre helps your intestines function more efficiently, as well as helping to lower cholesterol. Good sources include apples, oats, psyllium husks, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Start with a small amount (one teaspoon) until your colon adjusts to the extra fibre and make sure you stay well hydrated.
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EAT MORE FATTY ACIDS: Omega 3’s or essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and soothe the gut. Eat plenty of avocados, oily fish, flaxseeds and the good oils such as olive, walnut and coconut. Avoid fried foods, meats and margarines. Eat small, frequent meals so you don’t overload your digestive system.
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STIMULATE DIGESTION: If you are low in digestive enzymes you won’t break down and absorb your food very well, resulting in bloating, wind and constipation. Take one Tblsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in water before or during meals to stimulate digestive enzymes or take Swedish Bitters.
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EXERCISE REGULARLY: Whenever possible do at least 30 minutes of non-competitive exercise. Exercise is a good stress reliever, releases pain-killing endorphins, and acts as an intestinal stimulant.
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HELPFUL HERBS: Slippery Elm soothes and coats the intestinal tract and eases inflammation and soreness. Take 1 tsp in warm water before meals or 2 capsules.
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Peppermint tea relaxes the intestines, reducing spasms and relieves wind. Drink 1-3 cups daily.
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Ginger tea also soothes the gut, reduces nausea, and stimulates digestion. Grate 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root into hot water and steep for 5 minutes before drinking.
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