Pumpkin: A Good IBS Food
Here's an interesting little tidbit about me: my cat also has IBS. I've often joked with people about how my cat and I share such a close connection, we even have many of the same maladies.
Over the years, in experimenting with my kitty's diet to lower incidences of diarrhea and constipation, I made one discovery that has been a godsend: pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin.
Fiber was a catch-22
Before that I had tried several different powered fibers, to know avail. Psyllium actually makes him gassy and gives him diarrhea unless it's all but the tiniest pinch (I also can't tolerate psyllium fiber). But when he doesn't have enough fiber in his diet, he defaults to constipation. So it becomes a Catch-22.
Could pumpkin help with IBS symptoms?
Recently I noticed some pet formulas for stomach issues contained pumpkin and it got me thinking. So, about seven months ago, I decided to start buying cans or small boxes of organic pre-mashed pumpkin and adding a little to my cat's wet food at each serving. Within only days, I began to notice a difference, and within a week it was all significantly better. So now I give him a teaspoon of pumpkin with each wet food serving. This doesn't mean he's 100% cured; he still gets flares, but they are pretty rare and less severe when he does get them.
Of course, not everything that works for an animal works for a human. But in this case, it looks like it can and often does work with humans too.
Pumpkin and soluble fiber
Pumpkins are also low FODMAP (with the exception of butternut, which is moderate FODMAP). In the winter I love buying little pumpkins and squashes (acorn and delicata). I just carve them into halves and quarters and bake them in the oven in a greased pan or baking sheet. I also make lots of squash and pumpkin soup (skin them, cut them up and boil them in stock with a cut up white potato or two and then let cool, and then blend them smooth, reheat and serve!). Pumpkin is a real great *safe* food (as long as I don't add a lot of butter or other stuff).
My partner's cat was recently diagnosed with IBD, and we will now be trying pumpkin with him as well, as he has been having a lot of bloating, gas and diarrhea. Our hope is that, along with other dietary changes and medications, it will help manage his sensitive GI issues.
Is pumpkin a part of your diet and does it help your IBS? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?