A Gut Health Expert’s 3 Recommendations for People With Digestive Problems

Photo: Stocksy/Michael Ravasio
A low-FODMAP diet is an eating plan with the potential to work wonders for your digestive system, but it definitely isn't easy. Registered dietitians often recommend the eating plan to people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Whether symptoms are primarily bloating and constipation or lie on the complete other end of the spectrum (or both), the eating plan can help people learn how to treat IBS by pinpointing foods that don't agree with their bodies. But again, it's not easy.

Registered dietitian Kristen Jackson, RD—who specializes in IBS—has a few more recommendations for how to treat IBS, some of which have nothing to do with food.


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Jackson emphasizes that if you have IBS and are considering giving the low-FODMAP diet a shot, it's important to work with a dietitian who can give you tips on how to do it correctly—and so you don't end up eating the same three meals the entire time, scared to try anything else.

Tips for dealing with IBS while on the low-FODMAP diet

1. Use a low-FODMAP app

The low-FODMAP diet is complicated and it's almost impossible to remember all the foods you can and can't eat—especially when you're first getting started. An app, like Monash FODMAP (from the university that came up with the eating plan), make it easier because you can look up any food to see if it's "safe" or not. As a bonus, it also has over 80 recipes. It makes grocery shopping and eating out a lot easier. "This app is both evidence- and research-based," Jackson says, on why this one gets her seal of approval.

2. yoga

While Jackson says specific yoga apps relating to IBS haven't been studied, the practice of yoga itself has been linked to improving IBS symptoms. While more research needs to be done, preliminary studies show that people with IBS who do yoga regularly experience decreased symptoms and anxiety. "Doing yoga twice a week for an hour and a half each time has been shown to have the same outcomes as the low-FODMAP diet," Jackson says.

3. meditation

Similarly, Jackson says a meditation practice could help ease IBS symptoms as well. While, like with yoga, more scientific research needs to be done, preliminary studies have shown that people with IBS who start meditating regularly experience decreased bloating, abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. One reason that could be why is because calming the mind can also simultaneously calm the gut, if IBS-symptoms are tied to feeling anxious.

Getting to the bottom of digestive issues can be complicated—one reason why it's important to work closely with an MD and RD. But Jackson's points that it goes beyond just monitoring food habits could do wonders for your gut, and, as it turns out, your mind, too.

Everything you need to know about intuitive eating:

Here's the myths about the low-FODMAP diet gut experts want people to stop believing. Plus, low-FODMAP meal ideas that only take 15 minutes to make.

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