The team at Evergreen Healthfoods get many queries in relation to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS ). People ask what exactly it is and what they can do to reduce the symptoms naturally. In basic terms, IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and irregular bowel habits, including alternating diarrhoea and constipation. In some people, irritable bowel syndrome can be a mere mild annoyance, while others can suffer tremendously crippling IBS symptoms on a daily basis.
The abdominal pain associated with IBS is usually triggered by eating and relieved through the passing of a bowel movement. Believe it or not, IBS sufferers are at high risk of becoming malnourished, as no matter what they eat, the nutrients cannot be properly absorbed during the digestive process. Digestion rates vary from person to person but in general the stomach empties about two to three hours after eating. Unfortunately, IBS sufferers do not enjoy this regularity. This often results in abdominal pain, bloating, and irregular bowel movements, all of which can have a major impact on quality of life.
Evergreen Healthfoods believes that the symptoms of IBS may be reduced through a careful combination diet and exercise.
Evergreen’s top tips for IBS sufferers
Exercise: Even though you might not feel like it, regular exercise can really help your symptoms. Exercising regularly can reduce bloating and constipation and it does not have to be anything too strenuous, a brisk walk or even yoga for 30 minutes, five times a week, will be a great help.
Eating pattern: Try to consume your larger meals earlier in the day and avoid, where possible, a large evening meal. You should also avoid eating foods that are hard to digest, such as raw fruit and vegetables, after 4pm.
Get plenty of sleep: The severity of IBS can be directly impacted by having little or poor quality sleep. Avoid caffeine later on in the day and make sure you get the rest your body needs.
Acidophilus supplements are often used by IBS sufferers to replenish their "friendly" digestive bacteria. The digestive system needs adequate levels of friendly gut bacteria for optimal function and health. Acidophilus is also very useful after bouts of diarrhoea or vomiting.
Activated charcoal is often used to alleviate uncomfortable bloating and gas after eating. It works by binding the gas-causing by-products produced by some of the foods we eat during the digestive process. These gases can lead to digestive discomfort and embarrassing wind. Activated charcoal has the ability to mop up any excess gas, helping to prevent uncomfortable bloating and gas.
Peppermint may help to relax the muscles in the intestines, consequently alleviating the symptoms of IBS. Try drinking peppermint tea or adding some peppermint oil to your glass of water.
Evening primrose oil may help to reduce inflammation in many IBS sufferers. It may also be helpful for women whose symptoms worsen before and during their period.
For those suffering, IBS is a very real and at times very difficult condition. However there are many small changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle that can help to alleviate your symptoms. If you would like more information on this topic or on the products mentioned, call in to any of Evergreen's seven stores and ask one of the highly trained staff.