Shirley Webber - Research Dietitian, 22 October 2015
Here are some tips to improve the health of everyone, including those diagnosed with IBS.
If you find that you’re
waking up at night and not falling into a deep sleep, try limiting caffeine
after 3pm. If you need a warm drink, reach for a herbal tea. Peppermint can
assist with digestion, while ginger can assist with an upset tummy and even
nausea. Just be careful of herbal teas containing caffeine, such as green tea.
Also, switching off electronic
devices at 9pm will prepare you for sleep. Many studies have shown that looking
at screens with a back light increases alertness, making it more difficult to
fall asleep in the evenings.
Drink plenty of water. Carrying
a water bottle, drinking warm water (if it’s more palatable than cold water)
and drinking a glass of water before each meal are all strategies to increase
your fluid intake.
Plan your breakfast. By
planning breakfast, you have something to look forward to in the mornings. A healthy
breakfast can increase alertness in the morning and reduces snacking during the
day. Including protein rich foods at breakfast (e.g. low lactose yoghurt, low
lactose milk or an egg) can make you feel fuller for longer as protein has a
satiating effect on the body.
Prepare your lunches the
night before or get up a little earlier in the morning to prepare your lunch
for the day. Doing this reduces the need to grab a quick meal which may often
be less healthy or high FODMAP. Having your pre-prepared lunch can also reduce
the anxiety of wondering if your purchased lunch will cause a flare up.
Stretch throughout the work
day. If you’re sitting long hours try to do some stretches at your desk or in the
evening in front of the TV.
We recommend at least 30
minutes of exercise every day. Build exercise into your day-to-day life by taking
the stairs when possible; going for a brisk walk at lunchtime or using active
transport to get from A to B (e.g. walk or bike instead of driving or taking public
transport). You can also try parking a distance from your destination and walking
the remainder of the journey.
If your portions are ever
growing, buy some smaller plates, bowls and glasses. This can help you to reduce
portions sizes and reduce kilojoules/calorie intake.
Buy a water bottle, and not
just any water bottle. Buy something that inspires you to use it. Choosing a
bottle with a positive saying may also help you to stay positive throughout the
Prepare little snacks and
freeze them in portion sized zip lock bags. This will ensure that when a snack
attack hits, you have healthy snacks on hand to save the day!
Plan ahead! Pack your gym
bag the night before and leave it at the door. This will help to reduce the
morning rush and that one extra “I forgot my bag” or “didn’t have time” excuse.
Studies have shown that hypnotherapy
may reduce IBS symptoms. This may be tried as a complementary therapy to treat