Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on May 04, 2012

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Elaine Magee, RD, MPH.

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Video Transcript

Elaine Magee: Now that's a brave soul…eating an entire bowl of black bean soup. For most people, this would jumpstart a round of "gas" jokes. But if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, eating beans isn't funny, it's PAINFUL. In addition to being a dietitian who specializes in lightening recipes, I also suffer from IBS. So I can relate to all of you out there with this irritating condition. And there are a ton of us. An estimated one out of seven people in the U.S. have IBS. And to make matters worse, everyone's IBS is different--so what may work for me may NOT work for you. But there are some common themes. Food, for example. There are trigger foods: :Lactose rich dairy products if you're lactose intolerant… ;Sorbitol – a sweetener in diabetic and sugar-free products ;Carbonated drinks can add gas to the intestine, increasing bloating and pain. ;Caffeine, and unfortunately, chocolate. The good news is that there are many foods that IBS sufferers can tolerate, especially if you follow my tips on how to prepare them. These vegetables—asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes and sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, and zucchini—are all easily digested if they are cooked, not raw. Fruits should be ripe, which the skin and the fruit are soft…or you can opt for canned fruits in juice or light syrup. Some of the best choices are peeled apples and applesauce, ripe bananas, grapefruit and oranges or their juice, nectarines, kiwi, peaches and pears. But there's much more to consider than just the foods. Do you eat too quickly? Eat too much at one time? Eat a lot one day and little the next? Are you a deep fried food fanatic? Are you often stressed? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you're adding insult to your abdominal injuries. Because IBS is so unique to each individual, it's an absolute necessity that each of us keeps an FFS Diary. That's a "food, feelings and symptoms" diary, and it's designed to help you uncover which foods, in what amounts, contribute to your IBS during any given day. It's only with that information, that you can manage your IBS and regain control of your life. For WebMD, I'm Elaine Magee.