Acid Reflux and Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Foods That Could Trigger Acid Reflux and IBS Symptoms

  1. Fried foods
  2. Meat and dairy — grass-fed free range livestock without antibiotics and growth hormones are less likely to trigger acid reflux and IBS
  3. Processed baked goods — they contain refined sugar and bad fats as well as refined bleached white flour.
  4. Coffee and Alcohol
  5. MSG and artificial sweeteners — Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are the worst.
  6. Non-soluble fiber foods — do not eat non-soluble foods alone.  If you are going to eat them, make sure you eat them with soluble fiber foods.
  7. Avoid overeating, stop at 75% of your capacity.
  8. Never go to sleep or lie down after a meal.

Insoluble Fiber Foods

Here’s the type of fiber everyone is familiar with – insoluble fiber is in bran, whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables (note the exceptions under Soluble Fiber), greens, sprouts, legumes, seeds, and nuts. In short, the healthiest foods in the world are high in insoluble fiber, and what everyone should be eating as much of as possible. Right? Well, right, except for one small problem.

Insoluble fiber, like fat, is a very powerful GI tract stimulant, and for those of us with Irritable Bowel Syndrome this can spell big trouble. Unlike fat, however, you cannot simply minimize your insoluble fiber intake, as this will leave you with a seriously unhealthy diet. It’s a Catch-22, but the insoluble fiber conflict can be solved fairly easily.

One glance will tell you these insoluble fiber foods are the best (and tastiest) around, but your colon simply can’t handle it if you eat them with abandon. You absolutely must eat insoluble fiber foods, and as much as safely possible, but within the IBS dietary guidelines. Treat insoluble fiber foods with suitable caution, and you’ll be able to enjoy a wide variety of them, in very healthy quantities, without problem.

In general, if a plant food (no animal products contain fiber) seems rough, stringy, has a tough skin, hull, peel, pod, or seeds, be careful, as it’s likely very high in insoluble fiber. This is not a comprehensive list of insoluble fiber foods by any means but it should give you the general idea.

List of Insoluble Foods

  • Whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereal
  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains, whole grain breads, whole grain cereals
  • Granola
  • Meusli
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Beans and lentils (mashed or pureed they’re much safer)
  • Berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, etc.)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and pears with skins (peeled they’re much safer)
  • Apples (peeled they’re safe)
  • Rhubarb
  • Melons
  • Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes
  • Dates and prunes
  • Greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, mesclun, collards, arugala, watercress, etc.)
  • Whole peas, snow peas, snap peas, pea pods
  • Green beans
  • Kernel corn
  • Bell peppers (roasted and peeled they’re safer)
  • Eggplant (peeled and seeded it’s much safer)
  • Celery
  • Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic
  • Cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes (peeled and seeded, especially raw, they’re much safer)
  • Cucumbers (again, peel and seed them and they’re much safer)
  • Sprouts (alfalfa, sunflower, radish, etc.)
  • Fresh herbs

Soluble Foods

  • Rice
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Fresh white breads such as French or sourdough (NOT whole wheat or whole grain)
  • Rice cereals
  • Flour tortillas
  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Corn meal
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Yams
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Squash and pumpkins
  • Mushrooms
  • Chestnuts
  • Avocados (though they do have some fat)
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas (also digestive aids that relieve gas and indigestion)

Why is soluble fiber so special? Because unlike any other food category, it soothes and regulates the digestive tract, stabilizes the intestinal contractions resulting from the gastrocolic reflex, and normalizes bowel function from either extreme. That’s right – soluble fiber prevents and relieves BOTH diarrhea and constipation. Nothing else in the world will do this for you.

How is this possible? The “soluble” in soluble fiber means that it dissolves in water (though it is not digested). This allows it to absorb excess liquid in the colon, preventing diarrhea by forming a thick gel and adding a great deal of bulk as it passes intact through the gut. This gel (as opposed to a watery liquid) also keeps the GI muscles stretched gently around a full colon, giving those muscles something to easily “grip” during peristaltic contractions, thus preventing the rapid transit time and explosive bowel movements of diarrhea as well.

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