A person walks through an organic market as plants spring up beneath their feet and leave a grassy path behind.

Can Eating Organic Help IBS?

Over the past two decades dealing with IBS, I've had to tweak and re-tweak my diet in order to keep it under control. I've given up coffee and caffeinated drinks and cow milk. I've cut down on fatty and greasy foods and focused on soluble fiber-rich meals. I take a daily, high-quality probiotic. I avoid beans and most other high FODMAP foods. I make sure to not overeat at a particular sitting.

Organic food and IBS

However, it's not just the foods themselves but how they are grown and processed that I think can make a difference in managing IBS. Though the jury is still out (or rather, not a lot of in-depth studies have been done at all on this), I believe trying to eat mostly organic foods has also helped my IBS. Why is this? Well, foods that are not grown organically are treated with chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides (or in the case of dairy products such as cheese--which I still eat--the cows can be treated with hormones). I can assume since my sensitive gut has such a hard time digesting things, that this also includes foods with residues of harsh chemicals. But it's more than that: I also have a reproductive disease known as endometriosis--which is when the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body where it's not supposed to--including on the bowels.

Organic food and endometriosis

Endometriosis is very sensitive to estrogen and chemicals that can mimic estrogen in the body--which pesticides and hormones can do. Taking in too much estrogenic chemicals into the body can potentially exacerbate my endo and cause my endometrial growths to proliferate--including those on or near my bowels. This, in turn, can complicate or aggravate my IBS. As such, I try my best to eat mostly organic as opportunity and budget allow. Because by keeping my endo in check, I also am more likely to keep my IBS in check. Additionally, I notice a difference in my IBS when I eat more organic, minimally processed foods versus when I am eating foods that are more processed and not organic. Namely, I am more prone to IBS flares when I consume the latter. So, I try to avoid it as best I can.

How about you, have you tried eating an organic diet? Has it helped at all? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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