5. Eat fermented foods
The fermentation process was once a common way that people would preserve foods, before the invention of fridges and freezers and the process involves breaking down sugars and starches as this helps to keep food fresh. Nowadays, in the West, people don’t eat as much fermented produce but science has discovered that increasing your intake can bring a range of health benefits, as fermentation helps to partially digest the sugars in food.
Eating more fermented products, like sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage, or kefir, fermented milk, boosts the diversity of intestinal flora, as the beneficial bacteria and yeasts remain, while the sugar content is lowered. One clinical trial showed that eating yoghurt and kefir reduced flatulence by up to 71%, while a smaller study showed that lacto-fermented sauerkraut improved IBS symptoms and boosted the gut microbiome.
As gut flora has been found to play a major role in IBS severity, this could be one crucial dietary factor that could significantly improve symptoms of the condition. Remember, it’s important to eat the right kind of fermented foods though, as some, like white cabbage, can also be high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), which can worsen IBS.