AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Five randomized placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that probiotics are especially good for reducing wind and bloating. For foods to be described as probiotic, the WHO says they must have these properties:

  • A sufficient number of ‘good’ bacteria that remain alive and active until the end of the shelf-life of the product.
  • Bacteria that must be able to survive strong stomach acids.
  • Identified probiotic bacteria, whose specific type and strain is named.

Actimel contains Streptococcus thermophilus. Some drinks can be high in sugar and may contain fructose as well, so choose the ‘light’ versions where possible. You can also buy probiotic supplements, although some of these can be expensive. Natural and fruit bio-yogurts are a reasonable source too, but the drinks and supplements tend to offer the highest doses of probiotics – usually at least ten million live bacteria per dose – which means that more are likely to survive the acids in the stomach. You will probably need to take probiotics every day for at least a month before you notice any benefits.

Some probiotic supplements have prebiotics added

Some probiotic supplements have prebiotics added – these are natural sugars that feed ‘good’ bacteria and encourage them to multiply. These are usually listed as either insulin (found in vegetables) or Fructo-oligosaccharrides (found in fruit). Prebiotics seem to benefit those who suffer from IBS-C the most. If you have IBS-D, treat such supplements with caution as some research suggests that prebiotics can make diarrhoea or bloating worse. Foods rich in prebiotics include artichokes, leeks, celery, cucumber and tomatoes.

Keep A Food Diary

Foods affect individuals in different ways – what triggers IBS symptoms in one person may relieve them in another, so it makes sense to track your symptoms and current diet before making any changes. The best way to do this is to keep a food and symptom diary; an ordinary notebook will do. For two weeks, write down everything you eat each day and any symptoms that follow. Make sure you remember to include snacks and drinks and list all of the ingredients in a meal. For example, if you eat a curry, record all of the spices used to help you to identify which one, if any, is causing problems. It might also be worth noting other aspects of the meal. Were you in such a hurry that you gulped your food down? Were you feeling anxious about something whilst you were eating?

After two weeks, examine your diary entries. If you notice a pattern emerging that suggests that a particular food or foods seem to be involved in your IBS symptoms, the next step should be to visit your CP armed with this information. It’s not a good idea to attempt to exclude a major food group without guidance from your GP or a dietician. For example, if you conclude that dairy foods are at the root of your problems, cutting them out could leave you short of calcium, which is vital for a healthy nervous system, bones and teeth. A dietician might suggest alternatives, such as tinned sardines, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, calcium-fortified soya products, or even a calcium supplement. You may notice that your symptoms are linked to the way you eat, rather than what you eat. If you rush your food, or eat whilst feeling anxious, you might be swallowing too much air as you eat, resulting in uncomfortable wind and bloating.

Author Bio
Laura is a nutrition writer and gives away tips and tricks on weight loss as well as dieting. Her recent article on the importance of food for weight loss was reviewed by Norman K Poppen MD.


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