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Prevent IBS

To avoid mucus, reduce the intake of milk, cheese, flour, corn and sugar. Switch to almond milk, goat cheese, whole grains and fresh vegetables to minimize mucus.

Your body makes about a liter of mucus every day, and some of it may be for the benefit of your bowels. According to a 2013 study published in Science, mucus may hold the key to understanding digestive health and help explain inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) more so, it may even be a treatment for it.

Mucus normally lines the large intestine and is a normal component of bowel contents. While most people do not notice the passage of small amounts of mucus, certain conditions lead to increased mucus passage with bowel movements. Of these, irritable bowel syndrome ( IBS ), which affects approximately 15 percent.

Postural drainage and chest percussion are often used together to help loosen and remove mucus from the lungs. These airway clearance techniques help people who have a spinal cord injury, cystic fibrosis, or another condition that makes it hard for mucus to drain from the lungs. When mucus collects in your lungs, it increases your risk for lung infections. Postural drainage uses gravity to help drain mucus.

Try a FODMAPs diet to manage irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects 1 out of 10 people in the United States each year. With symptoms like cramping, diarrhea, gas and bloating, its no surprise that living with IBS can have a significant effect on a persons quality of life.

Diet is one way people manage the symptoms of IBS. A common treatment approach is to avoid the foods that trigger symptoms. A new diet for IBS, developed in Australia, is showing promise in managing IBS symptoms. Its called the low FODMAP diet.

What Is the Low FODMAP Diet?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides,Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And olyols. These fermentable short-chain carbohydrates are prevalent in the diet.

Oligosaccharides: fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
Disaccharides: lactose
Monosaccharides: fructose
Polyols: sorbitol and mannitol
Researchers suggest that the small intestine does not absorb FODMAPs very well. They increase the amount of fluid in the bowel. They also create more gas. Thats because bacteria in the colon they are easily fermented by colonic bacteria. The increased fluid and gas in the bowel leads to bloating and changes in the speed with which food is digested. This results in gas, pain and diarrhea. Eating less of these types of carbohydrates should decrease these symptoms.

So far, studies have shown that a low FODMAP diet improves IBS symptoms. One study even found that 76% of IBS patients following the diet reported improvement with their symptoms.

Eat Less Of These Foods

Cows milk, yogurt, pudding, custard, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and mascarpone
Fruits, such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes, pears and watermelon
Sweeteners, such as honey and agave nectar
Products with high fructose corn syrup
Vegetables, such as artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, garlic and onions
Grains such as wheat and rye
Added fiber, such as inulin
Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and soy products
Vegetables, such as broccoli
Fruits, such as apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums and watermelon
Vegetables, such as cauliflower, mushrooms and snow peas
Sweeteners, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt found in sugar-free gum and mints, and cough medicines and drops
Eat More Of These Foods

Dairy: Lactose-free milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, lactose-free yogurt; hard cheeses such as feta and brie
Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges and strawberries
Vegetables: Bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, spring onions and turnips
Protein: Beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs and tofu
Nuts/seeds (limit to 10-15 each): Almonds, macadamia, peanuts, pine nuts and walnuts
Grain: Oat, oat bran, rice bran, gluten-free pasta, such as rice, corn, quinoa, white rice, corn flour and quinoa
The idea behind the low FODMAPs diet is to only limit the problematic foods in a category not all of them. (After all, they do have health benefits.) You may tolerate some foods better than others.

Meet with a registered dietician if you are considering this diet. Its important to make sure your eating plan is safe and healthy. He or she will have you eliminate FODMAPs from your diet. Then you gradually add the carbohydrates back in one at a time and monitor your symptoms. A food diary and symptom chart may be helpful tools.

The Bottom Line

The low FODMAP diet has shown potential in helping people with IBS. Some health professionals believe its too restrictive. Proponents of the diet report that people stick with it because of how it improves their quality of life.


Nutritional Care Manual. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 2012.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Application of the low FODMAP diet for IBS: webinar. February, 2010.
Scarlata, Kate. The Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Well with IBS. July, 2010.
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms. The FODMAP approach. February, 2010.
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Manipulation of dietary short chain carbohydrates alters the pattern of gas production and genesis of symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome. August, 2010.
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Dietary poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates increase delivery of water and fermentable substrates to the proximal colon. April, 2010.
Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dietary Triggers of Abdominal Symptoms in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Randomized Placebo-Controlled Evidence. July, 2008.

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