April is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) awareness month. This little talked about condition is thought to affect between 10 - 20% of the population, yet many people are undiagnosed and many more try to hide it.
So as the slogan for the month says, #LetsTalkIBS.
IBS is a common condition that affects the large intestine and digestive system. It can cause diarrhoea or constipation, cramping, bloating, gas and general stomach discomfort.
For those who are severely affected, it's not only frustrating but can have a huge impact on everyday life.
Many talk of planning outings based on toilet facilities and accepting social invitations only from those who are considerate of sudden exits and embarrassing wind. This can lead to anxiety and in some cases depression.
Unfortunately, the exact cause is unknown. But it's thought the following may be contributing factors:
- Food moving too quickly or too slowly through the intestine causing muscle contractions in the intestine.
- Abnormalities in the nerve cells of the digestive system.
- Stress in early life.
- Changes in gut bacteria.
There are three types of IBS:
- IBS with constipation
- IBS with diarrhoea
- IBS with mixed bowel habits
As there are different types and no definitive cause, unfortunately, there is no cure. However, the good news is that many people can manage their IBS with diet and lifestyle changes.
When diagnosed with IBS it's advised to keep a symptom diary, including what you've eaten, what you were doing and the subsequent results.
From this individuals can often recognise their triggers and manage their symptoms effectively.
The general advice for IBS is to:
- Exercise regularly.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get enough sleep.
- Keep to a regular meal pattern.
- Avoid foods that trigger your IBS.
More recently a new therapy for IBS has been proposed. This is called the FODMAP diet, developed by Monash University. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
The theory is that these short-chain carbohydrates are not well absorbed and can cause some people pain on consumption.
The idea of the diet is to cut down on high FODMAP foods until triggers are found and then potentially re-introduce them.
High FODMAP foods tend to contain gluten, lactose, fructose and fructans. A few examples are:
- Cream cheese
- And mangoes.
For full details you can read this FODMAP guide.
Wheatgrass is considered a low FODMAP food and can help with good digestive health. Rich in enzymes, wheatgrass supports the breakdown of food. Crucially it also help us absorb the nutrients consumed.
The high levels of chlorophyll wheatgrass contains help cleanse toxins from our gut, helping to maintain optimal health.
It also provides a great energy boost to counteract tiredness and fatigue.
To order yours visit our shop today.