Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder of the digestive tract. Common symptoms are cramps or stomach pain that improve after a bowel movement. IBS patients often suffer from constipation or diarrhea, sometimes alternating between them. Stress or some foods may aggravate symptoms, but an article in "American Family Physician" indicates that causes and symptoms differ from person to person. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables may help relieve the symptoms, especially for patients who suffer from constipation. Consult a doctor to determine the regimen that is best for you.
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IBS patients benefit from both soluble fiber, which helps keep stool soft and prevents painful bowel movements, and insoluble fiber, which moves food along and adds volume to stool. Citrus fruits are excellent sources of both types of dietary fiber and good choices for IBS patients. Oranges and grapefruit may be very helpful because they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Tangerines are especially good choices for patients with constipation, as their fiber is almost all soluble, helpful keep stool soft.
Legumes and Potatoes
Most fresh vegetables are rich sources of fiber. However, legumes are especially high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them beneficial for IBS patients who experience constipation and difficulty eliminating stool. Green peas, kidney beans, lentils and lima beans are good examples of fiber-rich legumes. Potatoes are also good choices, with about two-thirds of their fiber in soluble form.
Oat Bran and Brown Rice
Whole-grain foods may help relieve some IBS symptoms because their content of insoluble fiber helps keep the digestive system regular. For IBS patients who suffer from painful bowel movements, the high levels of soluble fiber in oat bran and brown rice may be especially helpful. Brown rice in particular may be a good choice because all of its fiber is in soluble form. Oat bran also provides large amounts of soluble fiber and has the advantage that it may be sprinkled on many other healthy foods, such as cereals or yogurt.