The Best Liquids for IBS
If you have IBS, I’m sure that you have read things about juicing, tea for IBS healing, the smoothie diet, drinking enough water, kombucha, soup, and more. It makes sense that drinking liquid is easier on your digestive system than your gut having to work hard to break down food. But are all of these liquids equal when it comes to being good for your IBS? Let’s break it down to make it easier to navigate the best liquids for IBS.
There is a lot of controversies about whether juicing is just a diet fad, or if it really “works.” Juicing has been around for a really long time, and it can work for certain people, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Having a juice can be good as a meal replacement to give your digestion a little break, but it’s not good to completely replace juicing with food. You lose nutrients and fiber when you juice the pulp out of your fruits and vegetables. One nutrient you lose is magnesium, which is vital for the IBS sufferer. A lot of people use a juice diet to lose weight, but in reality, you are losing muscle and not fat, because juice doesn’t contain much protein.
I have done a juice cleanse for 3 days to see if it helped with my IBS, and of course, my bloat went down because my gut wasn’t having to work to break down food, but it’s not a long-term fix. As soon as I ate “real food” again, the bloat came back. I also have found that most of the juices contain high FODMAP fruits, like apples. As soon as I have a sip of a juice and realize it has apple in it (rookie mistake), the gas follows immediately. The alternative would be to buy your own juicer or go to a juice bar where you can have them custom make your juice, but you will be paying quite a bit of money, and will still be hungry.
With the need to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day as an IBS sufferer, it’s not good to go hungry because you will more than likely just overeat later, which can cause problems for your IBS.1,2
I used to love smoothies, until they started to hurt my stomach. I would make a smoothie with berries, banana, almond milk, and vegan protein powder. Or maybe just a shake after a workout with almond milk and vegan protein powder. Protein is hard to digest.
I noticed that these high protein servings were wreaking havoc on my digestion! Terrible gas pains, terrible smelling flatulence, and more. I have cut back on adding too much protein to my smoothies, and am just getting more of the fruit benefits for now. I started using half of one serving of protein powder per smoothie or shake, which is half the protein, and have noticed that this does help. I might slowly reintroduce a little more protein into my shakes and smoothies, but for now, my stomach just can’t tolerate it.
YES! Drink all the water you want, all the water you can! It’s very important to stay hydrated when you have IBS, so drinking water is the best way to do that. The only trick about water that I have learned is to hold the ice! Really cold liquids shock your body, including your digestive system. Drinking room temperature water is ideal, and holding the ice is best. I love to add lemon to my water as well, as an added health benefit to cleanse my system, improve digestion, balance pH levels, clear my skin, promote healing, freshen my breath, hydrate my lymph system, maintain my weight, and more!3
Herbal teas can do wonders for IBS! Peppermint tea is an IBS staple that I suggest every IBS sufferer have on hand. There are many studies that show that peppermint and peppermint tea can help IBS sufferers. The compounds in peppermint activate an anti-pain channel in the colon. Peppermint tea can relieve bloating and gas.4 Other herbal teas can be great for IBS as well. Just make sure you are drinking it warm or at room temperature, not too hot :)
Kombucha has found its way into my heart. Loaded with probiotics, a refreshing replacement for soda, alcohol, and so much more. The “Humm” brand, coconut lime flavor is the favorite that I’ve had so far. GT’s Kombucha has a nice bite to it, and has really awesome quotes on each bottle. The quotes get repetitive, but they’re still fun to read, and good reminders! I would suggest learning to make your own Kombucha (preaching to the choir, here), because Kombucha can cost you $3- $4 a bottle, which isn’t cheap! But it is definitely worth the health benefits!
Organic Bone Broth is very beneficial for IBS sufferers. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline. The collagen in bone broth heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation. It doesn’t taste that great, but if you can get it down, you will start reaping the benefits, including shinier hair!5
Other soups are good for your IBS as well, as long as they are low FODMAP, dairy-free, gluten free, or whatever you can tolerate. Soup can be a great meal to have when you’re in a flare, and need to give your digestive system a break. Soup also makes you feel full, so this will tide you over until you feel that your stomach can tolerate solid foods again.
Are there any liquid staples in your diet? We would love to hear which liquids you think are best for IBS!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?