2 Key Nutrients to Kick Start the New Year

It's that time of year again! A new year means new goals for IBS management. Say goodbye to unwanted symptoms, terribly timed triggers, and never-ending bathroom breaks. Instead, say hello to these 2 worthwhile nutrients that make sticking to a New Year's resolution easy-peasy, no-more bathroom queasy.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria or yeasts that live throughout the body—especially in the large intestine. They help contribute to a diverse microbiome to improve immunity and chronic inflammation. Probiotics also play a role in creating specific neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining communication between the gut and brain.1

Fun fact: each person’s microbiome is unique, even twins! Since probiotics contribute to a healthy gut, they may be especially beneficial for people with IBS. Specifically, the Bifidobacterium bifidum strain may improve symptoms of IBS, such as bloating and flatulence.2

While more research is needed, a daily dose of 10 billion CFU may help improve symptoms associated with IBS.1 If you are curious about the appropriateness of probiotic supplementation, consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in gastrointestinal concerns. They can help determine the safety and efficacy of brands. But, for a food-first approach to healthy living, check out these natural probiotics to incorporate into your daily routine.

Kefir

It's a fermented yogurt drink made from cow's, goat's, or sheep milk commonly consumed in Eastern Europe. While it's considered high FODMAP, some brands are lactose-free, or 99% lactose-free that are generally well-tolerated by people with IBS.3 Drink it as part of a healthy snack or balanced breakfast! You can also use the liquid in baked goods like muffins for a richer flavor.

Miso

This traditional Japanese flavor enhancer is a fermented paste made from soybeans. It creates an irresistible umami taste yet provides a hearty source of natural probiotics. Incorporate miso into soups, marinades, salad dressings, or other foods needing a flavor boost!

Tempeh

Say hey to tempeh to help diversify the gut microbiome and improve IBS management. This probiotic-rich food gets packed with plant-based protein and fiber while serving as a vessel for your favorite flavors. All it takes is a quick sauté, oven-bake, or air-fry to take your tastebuds to flavor town. Then, pair it with your go-to vegetables and whole grains to create a balanced dish in a pinch.

Prebiotics

Yes, they are different than probiotics. Simply put, probiotics diversify bacterial colonization, whereas prebiotics fuel healthy gut bacteria.4 After all, these hard-working bacteria need to eat! Together, pre and probiotics work symbiotically to maintain a balanced microbiome, contributing to better IBS management. While prebiotics is predominately high-fiber foods, some options may not be appropriate for people with IBS. For instance, many are high FODMAP due to their inulin-type fructans, which are a no-no for those with IBS. So, skip the chicory root, onion, garlic, or other classically avoided ingredients, and instead opt for these gut-friendly alternatives below.

Oats

While it may be a breakfast staple, this ancient grain is also abundant in heart-healthy fiber and gut-boosting prebiotics to keep you feeling your best. Whether you like them cold or hot, there is an oat to float everyone's boat! Or transform them into granola, energy-balls, or baked goods for tasty yet long-lasting energy. Choose gluten-free if you are gluten sensitive.

Bananas

Yup, that's right! Although bananas are high FODMAP due to their oligosaccharide content, an under-ripe alternative gets the green light for those with IBS. These less-than-ready fruits are considered resistant starches—a slow-digesting yet prebiotic-rich carbohydrate that promotes digestive function.5

Flax Seeds

These mighty seeds pack a nutritious punch that may help improve digestive function, support heart health, and diversify the gut microbiome. Enjoy them ground or whole by incorporating them into plant-based yogurts, oatmeal, smoothie bowls, homemade energy bars, and more!

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