Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a pleasant condition, but the good news is that there are things you may do to lower your chances of getting it and, if you do get it, to avoid more severe symptoms. The meals you consume, for example, might make a difference: some protect you from IBS and others increase your risk.
However, recent studies suggest that it’s not just what you consume but also when and how much you eat that matters— new research suggests that sticking to a consistent meal schedule is linked with a decreased risk of IBS.
The researchers compared dietary data from about 4,600 Iranians to IBS prevalence and symptom severity data to determine whether there was a link between eating habits and IBS. They discovered that people who maintained a consistent meal schedule had a decreased risk of developing IBS and, when they did get it, had less severe symptoms.
“It’s no surprise that eating large meals all at once might cause digestive problems. I’ve had customers who feel IBS twinges when they don’t eat for too long. Establishing meal routines can aid in the reduction of digestive stress and the promotion of healthy digestive habits,” Dasha Agoulnik, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, explains. “Developing a habit of eating regular meals can assist to decrease stomach strain.”
Aside from that, there are a number of other ways in which skipping meals may harm your body. You could affect your blood sugar levels, become tired, have trouble focusing on the tasks you need to complete, and more.
Agoulnik suggests concentrating on adding more fiber to your diet and drinking plenty of water when it comes to making gut-friendly diet choices.
“The most useful advice I have to offer is to start with the basics: water and fiber,” she adds. “We should aim for a minimum of 80 percent unprocessed foods and 20% processed foods in our diets, according to my research. 4-6 servings of vegetables each day are recommended.”
She also warned that, when you increase your vegetable consumption to improve your fiber intake, you risk becoming constipated if you don’t drink enough water.