April is IBS Awareness Month. It’s estimated that 9-23% of the world’s population has IBS, yet many are undiagnosed. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder within the intestines that causes abdominal pain and discomfort. The pain may occur on its own, or it can be accompanied by constipation, diarrhea and bloating.
What causes IBS is unknown; however, it’s important to note that people who have IBS may have a more sensitive digestive system. That’s why it’s best to avoid triggers by managing stress and eating foods that regulate digestion.
While there’s not exactly a magic pill to cure all of the symptoms, there are things you can do to manage them. It starts with understanding what you’ve been eating that might be causing flair ups. Next, create a diet that meshes with your middle. That means adding in high-fiber foods. Eating foods high in fiber will help you feel full and stay regular, but not just any high-fiber foods.
Fiber Facts and Fiction
Fiber is a “fad-food” right now, and manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods to take advantage of the craze. But just as we’re learning more about different types of soy protein, research is showing how complex fiber is as well.
Most people don’t realize that there are actually two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each takes on a different role in the digestive system.
Insoluble Fiber: can’t be dissolved in water, passes through the intestinal track without changing form; will increase the frequency, water content and ease of bowel movements.
Soluble Fiber: dissolves in water, is smooth and soothing to the digestive track; can also lower the risk of heart disease, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Fiber is one amazing multi-tasker. Whether your goal is weight loss, improved digestion or heart health, fiber does it all. But despite common knowledge of fiber’s many benefits, 95% of Americans don’t get the American Dietetic Association’s recommended 21-35 grams per day. Fortunately,