9 Foods to Avoid With IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a fairly common intestinal complaint. If you’ve been dealing with abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloating, or excessive gas, you might be one of the twenty percent of the population that suffers from IBS. Women are more likely to experience this condition than men, and it is more likely to surface among those who are under age 50. Other risk factors include having a mental illness, or having a family history of IBS.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes this condition, but there are several theories out there. Irregular muscle contractions in the large intestine may be a cause, as too strong a contraction can cause gas and bloating, while too weak a contraction may cause constipation. Another theory is that it may be an autoimmune reaction. An immune system reaction in the large intestine may cause the pain associated with the syndrome.

1. Broccoli

For many, the first word that comes to mind when you think of broccoli is ‘healthy.’ For the generally healthy, this veggie is an excellent choice, full of essential vitamins. However, for IBS sufferers, it tops the list of foods to avoid. Cruciferous vegetables — a group which also includes cauliflower, kale, and turnips– are some of the worst offenders when it comes to intestinal pain. These trigger foods tend to cause an increase in intensity and duration of IBS symptoms. This is due to their high fiber content.

While doctors recommend eating a lot of fiber to combat IBS, not all fiber is created equal. The fiber found in broccoli and cauliflower is insoluble, which makes it difficult to digest. This causes the intestines to work over time, creating excess gas and leading to bloating and pain. It can even cause or worsen diarrhea.