Go Berry-licious for Better IBS Management Or Berries Benefits for IBS
Last updated: May 2023
Make your bathroom breaks a breeze by boosting berries in your snacks and meals! These mighty fruits get packed with nutrients that can help improve your gut health AND alleviate some symptoms associated with IBS. So check out the benefits of berries for IBS and how they can help with better disease management.
The health benefits of berries
Berries are abundant in feel-good nutrition that helps you slay the day. For starters, berries have tons of antioxidants—plant-based compounds that may help ward off disease. Specifically, berries contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. Your body's gut microbiome breaks down flavonoids. Your microbiome is the bacteria found in the digestive tract. Once broken down, these flavonoids offer cardioprotective properties by improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and arterial flexibility.1 While berries may help mend the heart, they can also boost the brain. It plays a role in anxiety that often accompanies IBS and can help with depression, brain health, and much more!2 Research shows that the flavonoid content found in berries may help reduce toxin accumulation in the brain.3 Talk about a food that packs a nutritious punch!
How berries can help with IBS
Navigating gut-friendly fruit options can be a s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e! Many are rich in fructose, which may trigger unwanted symptoms of IBS. While blackberries are high-FODMAP, choices like blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and acai berry can offer symptom-free benefits to people with IBS. For instance, berries are a good source of fiber, improving feelings of fullness and overall mealtime satisfaction. One cup of blueberries has 3.5 grams of fiber, and one cup of strawberry halves has 3 grams. Getting adequate fiber can also help alleviate constipation or other IBS-related symptoms, especially after you rule out trigger foods.4 Trust your gut; berries are a worthwhile source of wholesome nutrition.
In addition to the endless health-promoting reasons to boast about berries, research shows that its polyphenolic compounds can also help manage IBS. Specifically, pterostilbene (PSB) may contain immunosuppressive properties that can help improve chronic inflammatory diseases, especially those with IBS-D. It does so by mitigating the production of cytokines—the body's inflammatory response, ultimately alleviating symptoms associated with IBS-D. While more research is needed, the findings suggest that berries may be a possible therapeutic way to manage chronic inflammatory disorders.5 It's the berry best way to start the day!
How to incorporate more berries into your IBS diet
Help put an end to the struggle of the strain by using these berry-licious strategies to add more of these gut-friendly fruits into your life.
Give berries a blend
You shouldn't have to "bend it like Beckham" for a routine trip to the bathroom. Instead, become a smooth operator with berry smoothies! With a click of a button, you can transform berries into a tasty treat that can't be beaten. Get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to find an option that satisfies your body from top to bottom.
Make berries into jam
Many store-bought jams or jellies are made with high-fructose corn syrup or sweetened juice, ultimately wreaking havoc on gut health. Instead, go homemade with a low-FODMAP berry spread to enjoy in oatmeal, plant-based yogurt, or gluten-free bread. For those craving a little nostalgia, kick it old school by making a gut-friendly PB and J!
Frozen berries work, too!
You don't have to keep it fresh to death to reap the health benefits of berries. Frozen options are an equally (and sometimes more) nutritious choice compared to fresh berries since they get picked at peak harvest at a lower price point. Plus, they can get used in all the same ways as fresh berries while also minimizing food waste. Pro tip: use them in the place of ice cubes as a flavor-boosting way to keep drinks cool on a hot day. Unsweetened iced berry tea, anyone?
When you have berries that are still safe to eat but a little too mushy to enjoy fully, add them into a baked fruit crisp with gluten-free oats or berry crumb bars. You can also add frozen or fresh berries to your favorite scone recipe.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?