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Easing the Symptoms of IBS—What to Avoid this Holiday Season

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can disrupt holiday gatherings and make it impossible to enjoy even the thought of a holiday smorgasbord. Find out what to avoid (and what to try!) to avoid IBS symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an uncomfortable condition that results in a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms. As the holidays approach, people with IBS may wish to set some boundaries for their diet to avoid spending more time with symptoms than necessary.

For starters, there is no single special diet for IBS. Similarly, there is no strict list of foods that everyone should avoid. Some of the foods that cause problems for many people with IBS may not cause problems for you—and certain foods that cause problems for you may be harmless for most people with IBS.

As a general guide, however, try steering clear of some of these foods or food groups when possible this holiday season. You may be able to enjoy more of the festivities by abstaining from some of the goodies!

Holiday Favorites that can Aggravate IBS

In general, some of the most common foods that cause problems for those with IBS include insoluble fiber, grains, dairy, beans, fried foods, and caffeine. Around the holidays, this can eliminate quite a few common dishes. For instance, try avoiding:

  • Rolls, breads, and baked goods (finally, an excuse to avoid fruitcake)
  • Baked beans and bean dip
  • Coffee (gingerbread, cinnamon swirl, or otherwise!)
  • Caffeinated soft drinks and teas
  • Cheesecakes, whipped cream, eggnog, and creamy soups (as used in green bean casserole)
  • Fried dumplings, egg rolls, and other fried New Year’s Eve favorites

Holiday Favorites that Agree with IBS

Although some individuals with IBS may benefit from a low fiber diet, most do well on a diet full of fibrous vegetables. Thankfully, many holiday favorites can mesh well with an IBS-driven eating pattern. Try indulging in the healthy and fibrous foods below:

  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Roasted root vegetables
  • Homemade orange-cranberry sauce with turkey
  • Candied pineapples and fresh baskets of pears or citrus
  • Dairy-free truffles (Can they really taste amazing? Yes!) 
  • Pumpkin and squash side dishes and soups

Enjoy the flavors of the season, but choose wisely if you have IBS. If you already know which foods trigger your symptoms, you can factor those limitations into the rest of your dietary maneuvering this holiday. However you go about it, be sure to adjust as necessary to keep yourself comfortable and in control—no one wants to be in the bathroom when the ball drops! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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