If you have been miserable suffering with digestive distress and searching for answers, you have come to the right place. Today on Nurture My Gut we have a special Guest Post by Heather Woodruff, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Digestion Guru who specializes in helping others suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Below she will share her top 5 remedies for alleviating the symptoms related to IBS.
5 Natural Remedies for IBS
by Heather Woodruff, CNP
It’s estimated that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) affects 10-15% of the worldwide population. That’s a whole lotta people (AboutIBS)! It can be unpredictable, embarrassing and of course, ridiculously frustrating. I should know, I’ve been there.
I remember back in my IBS days, over a decade ago, being curled up on the couch, binge watching Sex and the City (I did say it was a decade ago) with my arms wrapped around my painfully bloated belly. I had no idea what to do, so I simply laid there willing myself to stop running to the loo.
This was long before I learned to eat in a way to support gut healing as opposed to gut inflaming, long before I became a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and long before I based my entire wellness practise around supporting women with deep digestive healing.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have prepped myself one of these 5 natural remedies for IBS immediately…
Natural Remedies for IBS:
- Peppermint Oil: Peppermint is an antispasmodic herb meaning that it relaxes the muscles in the gut which can help to decrease IBS symptoms like cramping, bloating, excess gas and abdominal pain (WebMD). Try capsules containing 0.2 – 0.4 ml of peppermint oil 3x per day during an IBS flare-up for adults (WebMD). Caution for those with heartburn as peppermint oil has been noted to occasionally increase reflux pain in a few individuals.
- Herbal Tea: Herbs are powerful and have been used by our ancient ancestors for thousands of years. Until the mid1800’s when the first pharmaceutical drug was created, herbs were our primary medicine and nature was our beautiful laboratory. A few IBS calming specific herbs are ginger, peppermint, chamomile and turmeric. In particular, turmeric is heavily researched for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to decrease pain in adults with IBS. (Medical News Today)
- Bone Broth/stock: First I would like to be clear that when I say bone broth or stock I am referring to the good ‘ol homemade style, slow simmered variety, not those found in a tetra pack, aluminium can or made from bouillon cubes. Homemade stock or broth is extremely gentle on the tummy and amazing for those days when all foods seem to inflame your gut. Have it in a soup, stew or simply sip as a ‘tea’ to give you some extra tummy friendly nourishment that is super easy to digest. (Dr. Axe) Try the Bone Broth Cider recipe in the 3 Day Meal Plan to Calm IBS Flare-Ups.
- Fibre (for Constipation): For those with constipation associated IBS (pooping less than once per day) the build-up can lead to painful cramping and bloating. One way to get things moving is by upping our fibre consumption by filling half our plate or bowl with colorful cooked veggies, lentils, coconut and sprouted nuts and seeds. We can also bring in an extra dose of fiber with ground psyllium husk or ground flax seeds. Try 2 table spoons in a little water daily. (Dr. Axe)
- Diet: This one is definitely a more long term strategy but essential for getting to the heart of digestive upset. Many lovely humans living life with IBS report their symptoms getting worse after meals, which shows just how much our food choices matter when it comes to IBS and chronic tummy trouble. (About IBS) I have seen more than a few clients whose digestive upset was completely resolved from switching to a primarily whole foods based diet and pinpointing their unique gut triggers with absolute certainty.
Foods that appear to inflame IBS more than others are; refined sugar or flour, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, processed foods (anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food), conventional pasteurized dairy and some high FODMAP foods. However; it is important to confirm exactly what works or doesn’t work for your belly so that you don’t unnecessarily restrict yourself.
For me it wasn’t a magic supplement or single superfood that finally calmed my belly down, it was about replacing the gut inflaming foods I was unknowingly eating every single day with an abundance of gut healing foods as well as being consistent with several of the remedies listed above.
I see transformation like this, time and time again with my own clients, including Tamara; who after a lifetime of digestive issues was finally having solid bowel movements after only 8 weeks of dietary shifts, bone broth and ginger/turmeric tea. It never ceases to amazing me how quickly the body can heal when it is given EXACTLY what it needs.
‘Along with my digestive issues I also struggled with acne, and a knee surgery that just would not heal. After working with Heather my bowel movements are finally solid (they have been soft for as long as I can remember!) my knees are better and my acne is finally clearing.’
- Tamara O, North Vancouver
Get some of the recipes and remedies I use to get exceptional results with my clients (including Tamara) in the FREE 3 Day Meal Plan to Calm IBS Flare-ups.
Heather is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Digestion Guru who loves supporting women to live wild and IBS FREE through deep digestive healing, so they can stop just managing and start healing. This means helping you to discover the abundance of delicious nourishing food you CAN actually eat that will not inflame your chronically inflamed tummy but actually nourish and repair it. She is the founder of Heather Woodruff Nutrition and spends her days coaching clients one-on-one or through group programs, speaking, teaching cooking classes and leading Sacred Gut Healing workshops.
Heather Woodruff, CNP RNCP
Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Digestion Guru