Control Your Intake of Insoluble Fiber
While soluble fiber is entirely beneficial for IBS, insoluble can cause problems for anyone with irritable bowel syndrome. This does NOT mean you should avoid it completely – this is both very unhealthy and very difficult as many foods contain both soluble and insoluble types – but it DOES mean you should reduce your intake where possible, eating only amounts you can tolerate and always with foods containing soluble fiber. Here’s how to adapt your insoluble fiber intake in your diet to reduce symptoms of IBS.
Soluble Fiber on the Inside: Insoluble on the Outside
The inside of grains, cereals, as well as many vegetables and beans, may contain insoluble fiber, but the outer layers (the bran, husk, or hull of wheat, rice grains and corn kernels, the skin of fruits, veggies and beans) typically contain insoluble fiber.
Best Tolerated Types of Insoluble Fiber
Typically, the most easily tolerated wholegrains include: brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, (soba) noodles, corn meal (polenta), quinoa, and barley. Adding small amounts of well-cooked or pureed beans and lentils to your soups and casseroles, or including them as dips in your diet, is also beneficial. Provided you modify your diet gradually you can significantly increase your tolerance of beans. If beans still cause problems, use lentils instead, since they are typically more easy to digest. Nuts are another very healthy diet food, but it’s best to grind them first and combine them with soluble fiber-rich foods in your diet. If these foods cause difficulty, some experts advise eating plain soluble fiber foods like white rice, pastas, white bread (French or sourdough), potatoes.
Remove Insoluble Fiber Where Possible
IBS sufferers can greatly reduce the amount and tolerability of insoluble fiber in the diet by careful food preparation. For example:
- Always peel and seed fruits and vegetables. This removes the toughest insoluble fiber.
- To reduce insoluble fiber further, chop, blend, puree or cook fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.
Combine Insoluble With Soluble Fiber-Rich Foods
Eat plenty of root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beets, rutabagas, and carrots), mangoes, bananas, peeled apples and peeled pears, peeled peaches and apricots, and avocados.