Do you suffer from IBS? 3 things your gut is trying to tell you

THERE are many things that can turn your stomach—injustice, rollercoasters, public speaking—but your diet shouldn’t be one of them.

But health experts believe that’s exactly what’s happening, as 86 per cent of Britons have suffered from digestive problems in the last year.

stomach worries? You're not alone, but a diet similar to that of your grandparents could help


stomach worries? You’re not alone, but a diet similar to that of your grandparents could helpPhoto credit: Getty

While jittery tummies and anxiety could be to blame, around 10 per cent of Brits suffer from it RDSif many experts modern western diets and believe emphasize of a fast-paced lifestyle are to blame.

“Our eating habits have changed dramatically in recent generations,” explains naturopath Louise Westra (

“Our daily diet is almost unrecognizable to that of our grandparents.

“We’ve always collected our groceries, but we’ve never had so much choice, convenience or access to groceries.

“Moreover, we have entered a whole new food era, in which refined and highly processed foods are staples in many households.

“Consequently ours digestive tract is being challenged in a way it has never faced before, and this attack is now happening regularly.”


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From sugar taxes to banning chocolate and candy at checkouts to calorie counts on menus, government agencies are trying their best to make unhealthy snacking more inaccessible to the mainstream in a bid to curb rising obesity and diabetes, not to mention the rise in IBS .

“Key components of the Western diet include excess refined sugars, highly refined and saturated fats, animal protein, and a reduced intake of plant-based fiber,” warns Louise.

“It also means humans have fewer naturally occurring phytochemicals (produced by plants), which are incredibly helpful for the body to reduce inflammation.

“Some ingredients actually confuse the body by unleashing an immune attack against what it thinks are potentially harmful bacteria (when it’s actually part of one of those processed foods), leading to a baseline of low-level inflammation.

“Distracting the immune system in this way means that when faced with a real infection, the immune cells are not as ready to do their job as they are already busy dealing with the onslaught of our poor eating habits.”

From heartburn and bloating to constipation and chronic diarrhea, stomach upset manifests itself in many uncomfortable ways. So how can you support your digestive system and fight the symptoms of a shaky tummy?

1. It’s time to take your diet back in time

Life is very different, but we would all be better off sticking with the simple diet that our grandparents generally had.

It even played out positively on The 1940s House, a Channel 4 series in which a family trades their frozen ready meals and sugary treats for smaller portions of meat but unlimited potatoes, fresh, seasonal vegetables and whole wheat bread (the standard bread during WWII). exchanged ).

Combined with hard work and lots of activities, similar to the country girls and farmers of the time, after nine weeks the family had significantly lower cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat.

While it doesn’t sound like the pattern of a healthy diet, it was high in fiber and carbohydrates, which scored high on the satiety index and left little room for sugar cravings. That’s a good thing, because sugar, meat, cheese, butter, and cooking fat were severely restricted in the 1940s.

But before rations were introduced, the average British diet was still closer to modern recommendations than what we eat today.

“We eat a lot less flavors now and rely heavily on salt and sugar as the main flavors,” says Louise.

“That means we don’t use bitter foods like we used to.

“For centuries, people have used bitter substances to aid digestion – as an aperitif before a meal and/or as a digestive tonic at the end of a large meal.

“Research suggests that bitter foods help stimulate the secretion of saliva and stomach acid to allow for healthy digestion and stimulate bile, a fluid produced by the liver that breaks down and digests fat.”

Your good-good shopping list

Soothe rumbling tums with Louise’s pantry picks…

Fresh vegetables

Aim for variety and at least four to five servings a day. Some of the best are beets, carrots, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale), dark leafy greens, onions, peas, lettuce, and squash.

Whole pieces of fruit

Three to four servings a day – mainly apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, oranges, pears, pink grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, red grapefruit or strawberries.

herbs, spices and teas

Turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc. as well as green tea daily.


Foods such as yogurt, kombucha, kvass, kefir or cultured vegetables daily.

organic products

Wild caught fish, caged eggs and pasture/grazed meat a few times a week

Healthy Fats

Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and nuts/seeds.

Ancient grains and legumes

One to three servings per day – mainly adzuki beans, black beans, cowpeas, chickpeas, lentils, black rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.

Red wine and dark chocolate/cocoa in moderation

Several times a week or a small amount daily.

2. Wash your vegetables

If a quick rinse or wiping your shirt down is the extent of cleaning your fruit and veg before you plug it in, you might want to reconsider.

Recent studies have shown that the use of synthetic pesticides in our products has steadily increased each year since World War II to keep up with growing demand.

In fact, a report by the European Food Safety Authority showed that 45 percent of food in the EU contained traces of one or more of 774 pesticides.

Bananas, eggplant, broccoli, peas, peppers and raisins All have been found to be more likely to contain multiple residues, and as a result, studies have found that exposure to such pesticides is associated with microbial shifts in the gut and increased gut permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and gut inflammation.

“Our gut microbiome is a bacterial ecosystem that contains genetic material,” says Dr. Anthony Hobson, Principal GI Clinical Scientist at the Functional Gut Clinic (

“These organisms evolved with us and mostly have beneficial and symbiotic relationships with our bodily functions, meaning that our diet, lifestyle, medications and environment, including pesticide use, affect their efficiency.

“Therefore, we should wash everything well to avoid an imbalance in the gut.”

Aside from agricultural pesticides, this also includes the phthalates found in plastic food packaging, which have been shown to leak into food.

A simple salt water or baking soda wash will do, or you can opt for something more specialized like Bondi Wash’s Fruit & Vege Wash, £14 ( to remove chemical pests.

3. Be sparing with the antibiotics

Antibiotics are almost prescribed half of the UK population yearly.

And while they’re vital for treating disease, they can impact your gut biome.

While the effects can be reversed, Dr. Anthony that it takes time.

“The gut is great at healing itself in the right environment, and intermittent fasting can be a great way to give it time to clean itself by shedding old cells and mucus from the lining and regenerating new cells, ready for the next day of healthy eating.”

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To double the healing, Louise recommends turning to natural remedies for additional benefits.

“It’s highly recommended to use therapeutic foods like marshmallow or slippery elm, which soothe the gut lining, and boost probiotic foods because they populate your gut with good bacteria.”

You may be able to alleviate stomach problems with a few simple steps, including washing your vegetables thoroughly


You may be able to alleviate stomach problems with a few simple steps, including washing your vegetables thoroughlyPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor Do you suffer from IBS? 3 things your gut is trying to tell you

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