1. Ditch the artificial sweeteners
Whilst this may not be classed as a traditional "remedy" it's certainly worth doing. Artificial sweeteners are used all over and have been shown to cause gas and bloating. As you would expect, they are used in lots of diet products including soft drinks and other low calorie foods. But you need to check the ingredients list as they are also used in potato chips, toothpaste, mouth wash, chewing gum and a myriad of other products. Watch out for Sorbitol, Aspartame, Xylitol and other sugar substitutes. If there is no ingredients list, move on to the next product (if it's your favorite product, check the manufacturer's website for more information).
2. Eat more fiber
Especially soluble fiber. This will help your bowels to move more naturally which in turn should reduce their irritability. If you follow the current recommendations of eating more fruit and vegetables, you'll be on your way. Just make sure that they have suffered little if any processing. This means eating real fruit, not drinking juice or smoothies. Ideally your vegetables should be steamed or oven cooked rather than deep fried. So that means cutting down on the french fries. Sorry!
3. Get more friendly bacteria
It's not just an advertising gimmick. You can get probiotic drinks that you keep in the refrigerator and drink one a day. Or you can get a pot of Acidophilus from your local health food shop and keep that cool instead. Go for the highest strength available for maximum benefit.
4. Try peppermint tea
Peppermint has been used since ancient times to help with healing your digestive system. Brew a cup of peppermint tea instead of automatically reaching for coffee the next time you want a hot drink. It's a refreshing drink as well as helping your digestion.
5. De-stress your life
Stress is one of the major causes of IBS. Whilst modern western life seems to breed stress, there are ways of at least reducing it and they are well worth exploring. Treat yourself to some "you" time. Put on a favorite song or listen to one of the many purpose made relaxation MP3s available. If you can spare the time, investigate taking a local yoga class. Or look into one of the newer meditation methods that do almost all the hard work of meditation for you, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the experience rather than concentrating on a candle or a mantra.
6. Cut down on the caffeine
Caffeine can be a contributor to your IBS. Trouble is, it's quite an addictive drug. Which means that if you are used to drinking lots of coffee every day, you may need to reduce the amount you're drinking over a week or two, rather than cut it out completely overnight. Decaffeinated coffee has improved and almost tastes the same as regular. Just be careful to check how the coffee you change to has its caffeine removed as the chemicals in some of the processes can add their own issues.
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