A Day of Fibre for IBS

When I first went vegan and was still trying to navigate my way through the tough world of managing my IBS I found it useful to see examples of what people were eating daily to make sure they were meeting important macro and micro nutrient goals.

One of the key aspects of nutrition, particularly when it comes to gut health, is fibre. This is never more true for us IBS sufferers, especially if you have  constipation predominant IBS.  However, when you first start learning about IBS and FODMAPs, it looks like a lot of foods that contain fibre are something you should be minimising. While there are definitely some foods to reduce, there are loads you can add in. Research shows that irregardless of the type of IBS you have, adding fibre to your diet will help improve symptoms(1).  With a bit of adjustment and trying new sources of fibre it is very achievable to hit your daily fibre goal. 

Before we see what a full day of eating could look like as a vegan IBS sufferer, it is important to have an idea of how much you should be aiming for.

In the UK, the government recommend(2) you aim for 30g a day for both men and women.  Unfortunately, current UK average intake for adults is only 18g per day! So we all definitely have some work to do.

So what could a day of eating look like where you hit your fibre goal?

Below is a day of eating more than 30g of fibre.  Just remember when looking at this day, this is just one way your diet could look. If you don’t like the foods listed or they don’t align with your goals don’t feel like you need to change your diet. This is simply an example of how a vegan FODMAP friendly day could look.

 

Meal

Fibre Content (g)

Breakfast – Blueberry Porridge

Oats – 40g

4

Chia Seeds – 10g

4

Blueberries – 80g

1.9

Pumpkin Seeds – 1tbsp

0.6

Total: 10.5

Lunch – Sourdough Sandwich

2 slices of sourdough bread

2

Hummus -30g

1.4

Avocado – 40g

4

Salad – however much you can stuff in the sandwich

0.5

Side of pepper – 1 whole pepper

3.5

Total: 11.5

Snacks

Banana with peanut butter – 20g pb

4

Popcorn -25g

2.5

Total: 6.5

Dinner – Lentil Ragu

Baked sweet potato – 1 large potato

4

Lentil ragu *

8

Total: 12

Dessert

Alpro dark chocolate yogurt

1.5

Total fibre for the day

42

 

* certain foods will differ depending on how you make it or what brands you buy

As you can see, by adding either a fruit or vegetable to each meal you can really rack up your fibre count.

Obviously different days you may not have as much fibre or not snack on predominately fruit but fancy crisps or chocolate instead and there is nothing wrong with that. The trick is to find some good base meals with decent fibre content. Keep adding variety to your diet in the form of different fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. And don’t forget to hydrate. Water helps keep things moving in your bowels. When you increase your fibre intake you also need to top up your H20.

FAQ’s

I have diarrhoea predominant IBS, should I be increasing my fibre?

Research shows it is important for all IBS sufferers to consume fibre in adequate amounts. However, with IBS D this can initially seem counterintuitive. Fibre is seen as a way to get your bowels moving, which if you have IBS-D, isn’t something you want to be encouraging. However, with the right type of fibre, which for people with IBS, is soluble fibre, you can improve IBS D symptoms. Foods with soluble fibre include: broccoli, carrots, oats, flaxseeds, sweet potato and many more. Soluble fibre, can act as a binding and bulking agent for stool. If you currently have a low fibre diet or don’t eat many sources of soluble fibre, find some foods you want to try and very gradually add those into your diet. Start very slowly to reduce the chances of worsening your symptoms.

Should I be adding fibre supplements?

Food is always a good place to start when trying to improve your diet. However, there are some recommended fibre supplements for those with IBS. The recommended increase for fibre supplements is 5g per week(1). One of the main supplements is psyllium husks. Studies have shown this can help improve symptoms for all IBS types. Another supplement is stericulia, which is recommended by Monash. However, there is only a small amount of evidence to support the use of this supplement. Both are usually found in the health section of supermarkets or health food shops. Supplements to avoid include inulin and wheat bran, which can actually worsen symptoms as they are high FODMAP.

I’ve just turned vegan and I am eating more fibre but my symptoms have worsened?

Anecdotally, this could be because typically when you turn vegan you start to consume more fibre then was previously in your diet. The sudden increase in fibre can actually aggravate your gut. Focus on slowly adding in different sources of fibre. If you are trying new foods on your vegan diet add in slowly over the course of a few weeks and see if one in particularly is an IBS trigger for you. Over time as your body adjusts to this new level of fibre things should start to feel better.

 

References:

  1. El-Salhy, M., Ystad, S.O., Mazzawi, T. and Gundersen, D., 2017. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome. International journal of molecular medicine40(3), pp.607-613.
  2. GOV UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/618167/government_dietary_recommendations.pdf
  3. BHF Factsheet: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/257/BNF%20Fibre%20factsheet.pdf?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=fb754ecaedd570ddbe744469d2e97fef57ec47d2-1594031148-0-ATdoopTJJlvkMraIcJ0yMr8bQ5_WKUwEMcaSPDqljQ49lfNomob5OWml1Invw-ozSD9_6xAp6GACOoOkSiob6rpjHZDyY5QvlxJkMcJI1y50OQdmBkuiuXCelpuA7VHZhXW3TsbuybRgi6nBLqFqUGdub_fCo778kLFgsaHX_j6EeKw2Y9RzZN_zvrJpv_PRtjeQ0iJYUNxC7fCUBHradn32rkf1kzRP5DW03LOeIVWnQspKnFocvnc2y5ujwGWB_JwPIsIy-hqFo4m2yY93RCc1GR8kEKL5lE5kZe_v_B7perhZ3dEPKQ4W3uC0phQRGkXBX69pK9DQLvZMfHc41cM2qraDFKbRzesvHWQLJeSl5ptLGKMddkOc9YfHgaRF65y5YvCpTNEuNcHcsLblWQg

Photo by Melissa Belanger on Unsplash

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