Bacteria & Irritable Bowel Syndrome-What's the Connection?

The month of April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month so we thought that this would be a great time to dig deeper into the  gut-microbiome connection.  In case you didn't know IBS can affect up to 1 in 5 people in their lifetime so it's something that  most people are very familiar with. The frustrating thing about IBS is how limited the treatment options can be for most people.  But if you are have been following our blog and have joined the whole health plant based nutrition movement then you aren't most people! Congratulations--if you are part of this group then chances are that if you do suffer with IBS you have started to experience some relief of your symptoms.  If you have not I would recommend that you work with a local physician or provider that champions the whole health food as medicine movement in your area to help to change your diet step by step.  If you do not have a provider in your area check here.

If you are have not been following our blog (tsk, tsk, tsk!) don't worry! There is plenty of time to catch up!  So what is the connection between IBS and a whole health plant based diet?  Well it all comes down to your gut and the little guys that make that place their happy little home---they are called your gut microbiome.  Now if that's a little too scientific for you just think of it like this-there are bacteria that live in everyone's gut and depending on what you eat that determines what types of bacteria either flourish or go the way of the dinosaur in your happy little home called your intestines.  Recent science has shown that what you eat can have a tremendous impact (in fact it may the the major factor) in what types of little buggies decide to flourish in your gut.  

Now if you are saying to yourself "Who cares if there are good or bad bacteria in my gut?" hold on just one second.  Each set of bacteria that live in your gut can be either considered good healthy bacteria or bad toxic bacteria.  When you eat a bad diet composed of highly processed, high fat, high sugar, and low fiber foods then you tend to accumulate these bad bacteria which can release toxic substances into your bloodstream not only further affecting your gut (hello IBS!) but also your mood and your weight just to name a few.  In order to change this environment of toxicity it is recommended for most people to decrease or eliminate all the above "food groups" and incorporate more whole unprocessed food and vegetables which should vastly increase the amount of dietary fiber.  It is in this increase in natural fiber intake that can slowly began to change the bacterial environment for the better and help return your gut to a happy, go lucky, pain free zone!

If you need help in transitioning your diet to a whole help plan and would like to schedule a consultation please schedule here.