Digestive Issues? Smoothies to the Rescue

You’ve probably know that coffee, sodas, and alcohol aren’t great for IBS. The good news is that there are other drinks you can enjoy. Tea can be especially soothing, and smoothies are the perfect way to get a concentrated, easier-to-digest food source in just a few ounces.

Smoothies can be enjoyed any time of day, and there are so many ways to mix it up. I’ve been experimenting with different vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients, and you can, too. All you need is a high-speed blender, your favorite IBS-friendly ingredients, and a few little supplies. Here are my staples:

Boba straws

I can’t stand drinking smoothies without a straw, but it doesn’t take long to notice that regular straws don’t cut it, especially if you like bananas in your smoothie. It just doesn’t cut it. Boba straws are nice and wide. They’re made for drinking the tapioca lumps in boba tea, but they’re excellent for smoothies. Plus, drinking out of a colorful straw makes me feel like I’m having a fancy drink, which makes the whole IBS diagnosis a bit easier to swallow.

Protein powder

I like the whey protein powder you can get from Trader Joes, but there are plenty of others to choose from. Sometimes the texture of protein powder can be a little chalky, so you can experiment by using more or less until you’ve got the right amount of liquid to reach your desired consistency.

Chia seeds

This is my Most Valuable Ingredient. Since I’ve started adding chia seeds to my diet each day, things have finally started moving through my digestive tract, the bloating has reduced, and I’ve even dropped a pant size. You can soak them in water or juice to make them soft and tapioca-like, but I usually just throw them in for a little crunch. They remind me of kiwi seeds.

Ground flaxseed

Any natural way to add fiber is a good thing in my book. I like to add flax seeds to my diet because there’s a long history of breast cancer in my family, and there’s some evidence that flaxseed may help prevent it and other types of cancer.

Fennel tea

I like to keep this on hand for when things are really clogged up in my digestive system. I boil in water, let it get cold, and add it to my smoothies, then watch IBS symptoms subside.

Fruits and Veggies

You can make a smoothie out of just about any kind of produce. I almost always throw a banana in – bananas are really a bowel cure-all for me. Unripe bananas can be used to treat constipation; when they ripen enough to form some brown spots, they can treat diarrhea). I also love blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, and I try to keep plenty of spinach, avocados and cucumber on hand. (Kale is a big No for me – it may be healthy, but it tears my stomach up and it’s just not worth it.)


Usually, a sweetener isn’t necessary, but when it is, I like organic maple syrup, and agave.


Cinnamon and ginger are both excellent for IBS, and they can be the secret ingredient that takes your smoothies to the WOW! place.

With all of the possibilities to mix and match ingredients, there are countless recipes you can concoct. Trial and error has taught me to keep it simple, though: an “everything but the kitchen sink” smoothie can definitely cause some intestinal distress. Start with a few ingredients and keep a record of what your body likes and dislikes.

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