3 Secrets for a Healthier Gut
Better Nutrition|April 2016

Natural relief for IBS and more.

Vera Tweed

IBS, short for irritable bowel syndrome, is a medical conundrum because symptoms vary, causes are unknown, and there isn’t any definitive, effective conventional treatment. When patients detail their symptoms to a doctor, they are likely checked for appendicitis, gallstones, tumors, an ulcer, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. If none of these are the culprit, the diagnosis may be IBS.

“This very broad diagnosis of IBS doesn’t tell you more,” says Stephen Wangen, ND, cofounder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, and Santa Monica, Calif. “Basically, your bowel irritates you and now you know you’ve got a syndrome called ‘my bowel irritates me.’”

What Is IBS? 

Digestive discomfort is technically considered IBS when one or more of these symptoms persists for several months: diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, or abdominal pain. With Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, there is damage to the intestinal lining that can be detected with a colonoscopy. While this isn’t the case with IBS, the condition can be quite debilitating, but there’s much that you can do to alleviate the symptoms.

“I’ve taken care of a lot of patients over the years with IBS and Crohn’s and colitis,” says Josh Axe, DC, author of Eat Dirt, “My diet for them has been an all-vegetable and meat diet, for the most part, cooked in a crock pot, and it works great.” Here are his three steps to digestive relief.

1. Rest your gut

“You want to do as much as you can to make it easy on the digestive system,” says Axe. With that goal in mind, the least labor-intensive foods to digest are bone broths and soups, made with meat or poultry, vegetables, and herbs, and cooked for a long time. (See our Gut-Healing Chicken Broth recipe at betternutrition.com.)

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