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    IBS Triggers and How to Avoid Them

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    When you know the things that can make your IBS symptoms flare up, called triggers, you can make a plan to avoid them. That way, you can work on keeping problems with constipation, diarrhea, belly pain, and bloating to a minimum.

    IBS is different for everyone, but it may help to keep track of how you react to the most common symptom triggers and learn to prevent them.

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    1. Diet Triggers for IBS Constipation

    Some foods can make IBS-related constipation worse, including:

    • Breads and cereals made with refined (not whole) grains
    • Processed foods such as chips and cookies
    • Coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol
    • High-protein diets
    • Dairy products, especially cheese

    Better Diet Choices for Constipation:

    • Gradually boost your fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day until you're eating 25 (for women) or 38 (for men) grams per day. Good sources include whole-grain bread and cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
    • Eat a moderate amount of foods that are higher in the sugar substitute sorbitol, such as dried plums and prune juice.
    • Drink plenty of plain water every day.

    Try ground flaxseed. You can sprinkle it on salads and cooked vegetables.

    2. Diet Triggers for IBS Diarrhea

    Foods that can make IBS-related diarrhea worse for some people include:

    • Too much fiber, especially the insoluble kind you get in the skin of fruits and vegetables
    • Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, or sorbitol
    • Carbonated drinks
    • Large meals
    • Fried and fatty foods
    • Dairy products, especially in people who can’t digest the milk sugar lactose, called lactose intolerance
    • Foods with wheat for people who are allergic to or have a bad reaction to gluten.

    Better Diet Choices for Diarrhea:

    • Eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber. It adds bulk to your stools. Good sources are whole wheat breads, oats, barley, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, the flesh of fruit (not the skin), and dried fruits.
    • Don't eat foods at opposite temperatures, such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, in the same meal.
    • Stay away from broccoli, onions, and cabbage. They cause gas, which can make you feel worse.
    • Eat smaller portions.
    • Drink water an hour before or after meals, not while you eat.
    • Talk with your doctor or a dietitian if you think you may have a wheat allergy.

    To ease symptoms of bloating and gas, try to avoid gassy foods such as beans, Brussels sprouts, wheat germ, raisins, and celery.

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