IBS can respond very well to natural remedies – and these are all things you can source easily and affordably from your supermarket, health food shop or even your own garden. Peppermint, ginger and fennel all have soothing, antispasmodic properties, and apple cider vinegar appears to ease digestive problems too. Taking probiotics is another simple gut-friendly habit to get into. Make one or two of these natural remedies a part of your daily diet and you should reap the rewards.
Well-known for its stomach settling properties, peppermint can be taken as a tea or as a peppermint oil capsule. You’ll find peppermint teabags on sale in the supermarket. Otherwise, buy a mint plant and crush a handful of leaves into a cup of boiling water for a fresh homemade brew. Add a slice of lemon for extra cleansing benefits. Don’t forget to ask for peppermint tea in restaurants after dinner – much better for your tummy than a double espresso.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fermented products are thought to be good news for digestive issues, and apple cider vinegar is becoming increasingly popular in treating IBS symptoms. Mix drops of apple cider vinegar with water and honey (it’s too harsh to take on its own!) or add a few drops to your herbal tea or fruit juice.
Similar to peppermint, ginger has antispasmodic effects and can be taken as a soothing tea. Ginger infusion teabags are readily available in most supermarkets, or you can brew your own using a stick of root ginger. Grate half a teaspoon into a cup, add boiling water and leave it t for ten minutes. Strain out the ginger bits, and have a sip!
Indian restaurants sometimes serve candied fennel at the end of a meal to soothe full tummies by stimulating the digestive juices. Buy fennel teabags or brew your own fennel tea by purchasing the spice in bulk.
Those with sensitive digestive systems should think about doing all they can to keep balance in their intestines. Stress, the effects of antibiotics, and poor diet can all upset the balance in your gut, and probiotics help to gently restore this balance back to normal. The result is a less troubled gut, less abdominal pain and bloating, and a better functioning bowel.
The specific probiotics that IBS sufferers should look out for are lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria – they’re present in most probiotic drinks available in the shops, and in most of the readily available probiotic yogurts (though the yogurts might not suit people with lactose intolerance). Results aren’t instant with probiotics, so you’ll have to give it at least a month before you start to feel the benefits. And if you stop them, there is a reasonable chance that symptoms may return. But if you alter your diet appropriately, you may find that the symptoms either do not return at all when you stop the probiotics, or are at least very much more manageable.
Our dietitians are specially trained in diets for IBS so if you would like professional advice, please do contact us for a private consultation.