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When I meet someone for the first time with IBS or digestive issues they often talk about fibre. When people don’t know about all the great things you can do with food and the mind-body relationship to heal from IBS they say – “Eat More Fibre”, “Drink More Water”. Honestly if you are suffering with IBS, this can be seriously degrading. It’s just not that simple for so many people.
Research shows that fibre has varying effects on IBS symptoms AND different types of fibre can actually affect people differently. Studies show that soluble fibre can help to relieve IBS-related symptoms. Specifically if you suffer from constipation-predominant IBS, soluble fibre can help get things moving along your GI tract. On the other hand, studies on insoluble fibre show that it could simply make symptoms worse. Since insoluble fibre is mostly found in wheat and bran, following a low-FODMAP, or gluten-free diet would likely already eliminate these foods.
The body can’t break down or absorb this nutrient so it’s important to get enough fluid, about 2 to 3 L per day and spread fibre through the day. Fibre is found in a wide range of foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. There are two different types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Most foods have a combination of the two types.
- Dissolves in water, forming a gel
- Decreases the time it takes for food to move through your gut
- Found in some fruits and vegetables, legumes, oats, psyllium, and flaxseed
- Undergoes minimal change in the digestive tract, adds bulk to stool
- Increases the time it takes food to move through the gut
- Found in wheat and bran and some fruits and vegetables
Following a low-FODMAP diet could reduce the amount of fibre in your diet if you’re not careful. Scroll down to grab a copy of our Top 5 Tips for increase fibre without causing digestive distress. Another great option is to meet with a dietitian to get the most out of your diet and help you choose high fibre foods that are safe for you. You can learn more about one-to-one coaching with our team here.
So what’s the bottom line here? Should I or shouldn’t I be eating fibre? One thing the research does show us for certain is that everybody is different, and there isn’t one recommendation for all. It’s beneficial to work with a registered dietitian to help you understand your body and exactly what it needs. Increase your fibre consumption gradually, too quickly and it could definitely make symptoms worse. One of the most important things to do when changing your diet is monitor your intake and your symptoms. Also don’t forget to drink lots of water!
Here are some helpful hints for including more fibre in your diet.
- Have a fruit smoothie for breakfast featuring low-FODMAP fruits like banana, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of spinach or kale to boost the fibre and nutrient content!
- Add 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed or chia seeds to your oatmeal, salad, or sandwich
- Include small amounts of chickpeas and lentils (1/4 cup), if tolerated, to recipes like soups, stews, and casseroles
- Try a soluble fibre based supplement made with psyllium husk, like Metamucil under supervision and recommendation from your MD or RD
Need some extra help increasing your fibre? Download our Top 5 Tips (we provide these to our clients) to get enough fibre without causing digestive symptoms!
Wishing you much love, good health and wellness,
Stephanie & the Team