Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder of the muscular movement in the digestive tract. Physicians are unsure of what causes it but believe there is a problem with the signals between the brain and intestines. Symptoms may include belly pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a long-term condition but symptoms can be controlled with diet and lifestyle. The primary way to manage symptoms is to replace trigger foods with healthy alternatives that promote smooth and painless digestion. There is no better way to initiate control on a daily basis than to eat a healthy breakfast.
Choose High-Fiber Foods
High levels of fiber in the diet keep the colon slightly distended, which may help to reduce or alleviate muscular spasms that cause IBS pain. Whole grain breads and cereals, as well as fresh fruit, are excellent choices of high-fiber foods to start the day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines a high-fiber food as one that supplies at least 20 percent of the daily recommended allowance. Women are advised to eat at least 25 grams of fiber each day and the recommendation for men is 38 grams daily. Whole grain bread selections may include toast, bagels, or bran muffins. Examples of popular high-fiber dry cereals include All Bran, Fiber One and Grape Nuts. Fruit selections with high-fiber content include raspberries, pears, apples, strawberries, bananas and oranges.
Select Dairy Products Carefully
Dairy products such as butter, cheese, milk and yogurt are an important part of a healthy breakfast due to their protein and calcium content, in particular. However, dairy products are common triggers of IBS symptoms. While some form of dairy should be consumed each day, IBS sufferers should choose a single type to enjoy with breakfast. If milk is eaten with dry cereal, for example, peanut butter, honey or jelly should be eaten with the side of toast, rather than butter or cheese.
Avoid Fried Foods
Fried foods are high in fat and are particularly problematic for IBS sufferers. Starting the day with fried foods is a bad idea, as the digestive sytem gets bogged down and irritated right away. Therefore, eating sausage, bacon or ham as sources of protein for breakfast is not a wise choice for IBS sufferers. Spread peanut butter on a whole grain mini-bagel, English muffin or piece of toast, instead. Egg whites, oatmeal or cereal bars are better choices, as well.
Limit High-Sugar Foods
Studies have shown a strong correlation between IBS and sugar intolerance. IBS sufferers have difficulty digesting high-sugar foods, as well as sugary-sweetened beverages. Given this, make sure to choose high-fiber, high-protein breakfast cereals rather than sugary ones, such as Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops, Froot Loops or Apple Jacks. Be careful not to add multiple teaspoons of table sugar to your bowl of cereal or oatmeal, either. Replace soda or flavored fruit juice with water or 100 percent juice for breakfast to complete a healthy start to your day.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Digestive Diseases A-Z.
- Fernandez-Banares, F. et.al. "Sugar malabsorption in functional bowel disease: clinical implications." American Journal of Gastroenterology 1993 88:2044-2050.