Set a reasonable length of time for meal periods so your child can eat their meal without feeling rushed or pressured to eat quickly Introducing probiotics Studies on the efficacy of probiotics suggest benefits of restoring microbial balance by competing with pathogens, enhanced gut barrier function, and altering the gut inflammatory response. 14,17,19 Incorporating one of the following may help manage IBS symptoms over time: Try adding some probiotic yogurt to your child’s breakfast or lunch - ¾ cup is 1 serve. 19-22 Fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut can be added in smaller amounts to salads, pasta and sandwiches. Smaller amounts, and homemade options are better as they tend to contain less salt. 22 A small serving of probiotic drinks such as yakult (1 bottle), kombucha and kefir (around ½ - 1 cup) a few times a week may help with IBS symptoms Decreasing Fat Content of Diet Consumption of fatty meals are associated with symptoms such as abdominal distension, abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas and loose bowel movements in some IBS sufferers. 23 Monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may assist with intestinal inflammation and are healthier alternatives to saturated fats, therefore these sorts of fats should be prioritised in the diet but it is still best to have in small amounts to prevent symptoms of IBS. It is important to consider allergies or dislikes when determining the sources of these fats. 23 Limit takeaway food and premade food and replace with homemade meals with lower amounts of fat Some children may better tolerate foods higher in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, wholegrain cereals as opposed to those higher in fat. 6,7,10 Serving lean meats and light or skim dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese (children over 2 years) Limit foods high in fat such as butter, margarine, cream, fried foods, fatty meat, pastries, and chocolate. 10 To incorporate more MUFA, PUFA or ‘healthy’ fats, you might include the following foods in your child’s diet: o Fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines: at least 2 serves a week o Avocado: ¼ avocado around 2 or 3 times a week
o A handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter (natural) o Unsaturated spreads or oils, e.g. olive oil, canola oils and other vegetable oils (use in moderation) Material of interest One of the ways to manage IBS in children is to eliminate fructans in diets of children. The Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology published an article where researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial found that fructans exacerbate symptoms in a subset of children with IBS. 24 These children experienced more abdominal pain with severe bloating and flatulence after consuming a fructan containing diet. Fructans are chains of fructose sugars joined together with glucose at the end. Because humans do not possess the enzymes to break down fructans for absorption, it moves through the gut where it is fermented by bacteria. In children suffering from IBS, this fermentation of fructans in the gut causes abdominal discomfort.
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- Dietary Fiber, Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, low fodmap diet, IBS symptoms