10 Foods to Avoid with IBS

10 Foods to Avoid with IBS

Should you avoid these 10 foods?

In this post, I’m going to show you which 10 foods to avoid if you suffer from IBS. These foods can sometimes trigger IBS symptoms.

Do you suffer from digestive issues like feeling bloated after eating? Do you have stomach pain, gas or other IBS symptoms?

If you struggle with bloating, stomach pain, gas or any IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) symptoms after eating, then chances are that you are probably eating something that your body has a tough time digesting.

Some foods are more difficult to digest than others and so cutting a few of these foods out of your diet or simply preparing them in a different way may resolve your tummy issues once and for all.

However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to stop eating ALL of the foods that I will list below. It’s a good idea to test these foods out one at a time to see if any of them are causing your stomach issues. If they are, then you can avoid those specific ones for a while and continue eating the rest of them as you usually would.

♥ A little bit of my story

I used to eat A LOT of raw vegetables but have had to cut down on the amount of vegetables and salads that I eat because they were causing me to have terrible digestive issues AND lots of IBS symptoms (not fun).

While raw vegetables are healthy, I’ve had to realise that vegetables (especially raw vegetables) can be very difficult to digest.

Have you ever heard the saying “too much of anything can make you sick”? Yes, even too many raw vegetables can make you sick. I learned that the hard way.

I still love to eat vegetables (lots of them) – I’ve just become a bit more salad “savvy”.

I’ve learned that eating a big plate full of raw broccoli florets, raw cauliflower, raw carrot sticks, cucumber & a cup of cherry tomatoes with hummus every day for lunch can leave me feeling like I need to be admitted to hospital.

Actually plates of raw “healthy” food like this did land me in the hospital… twice.

I used to eat so much raw food that I landed myself in hospital twice. I often used to be in so much pain after eating meals like this (unaware that the food was causing my pain) that I had to take many trips to see my doctor, who admitted me to hospital when she had no idea what was wrong with me.

After many tests and visits with multiple specialist doctors (which was very expensive), it turned out that the only thing that was “wrong” with me was my diet. Once I finally (after many months) got to the bottom of the food issue, I realised that a raw-vegan diet was not going to work for me any more.

I was forced to pursue a more balanced diet (which includes both cooked and raw foods) and I feel a lot healthier (and have had no more trips to the hospital!).


Raw vegetables are not the only thing that can be difficult to digest – legumes, grains (especially grains with gluten), cruciferous vegetables, tomato skins, leafy greens and potato skins can be some of the toughest things to digest.

It’s not necessary to cut all of these foods out – you can just test ones that you eat a lot of. The foods I’ve been having the biggest problem with are tomatoes (so I usually peel them now), legumes, cruciferous vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, raw leafy greens and cucumber peel – I have to take it easy on these foods.

The longer any food is cooked, the easier it becomes to digest and that’s why soups & stews are really great!

When I find myself feeling bloated and in pain after eating too much raw salad – I choose to eat a lot of butternut, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato (peeled), mushrooms, banana, papyaya, avocado, eggs, lean fish and vegetable soups until I’m feeling better. These foods are all examples of foods that are pretty easy to digest.


The top 10 foods to avoid if you suffer from IBS

1. Grains – especially grains containing gluten.

High-gluten grains include wheat, rye & barley. Brown rice can also (in some extreme cases) cause digestive issues because the husk is still intact, white rice (with the husk removed) is therefore easier to digest than brown rice

2. Legumes

All legumes including beans, chickpeas, peas & lentils can be difficult to digest because of their very high fiber content. Legumes are known for causing gas, bloating and digestive complications which can leave you feeling very uncomfortable.

3. Some vegetables

Of course vegetables are really good for us, but some of them can be quite difficult to digest which can cause tummy pain, bloating and gas. Here some veggies that might be more difficult to digest for people with IBS:

Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, parsnips, corn, tomato peel (especially cherry tomatoes with the peel), potato & sweet potato peels, onion and garlic.

Just to be clear though, all of these vegetable won’t cause issues for everyone. You might just need to eat them in moderation, or only one of these at a time.

♥ Helpful hints

I love cooking with tomatoes, but too much tomato peel can give me a sore stomach. These days I usually opt for big tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes & peel the tomatoes before cooking with them. Simply pop the tomatoes (with their skin still on) into a bowl of boiling water for less than 5 minutes until the skin naturally starts to come off. Pop the tomatoes out of their peels (the skin will come off easily now) and use the tomatoes for cooking!

Try roasting vegetables in the oven or steaming them instead of always eating them raw. Any vegetable tastes good when it’s been oven roasted! Making soups and stews with veggies are also delicious and really easy to do.

4. Some fruit

Dried fruits can be more difficult to digest than fresh fruit, because the fruit has lost all of its water and has therefore lost its “softness”. Fruits with peels like apples, pears and peaches, and fruits with edible seeds like passion fruit and berries can also more difficult to digest. To make these fruits more digestible simply remove the peels, and avoid very seedy fruits if they are a problem for you. Citrus fruits can also be a problem for some people.

5. Milk & dairy products

(Ice cream, cream, yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, etc.)

Some people have a problem with digesting dairy products & if they eat dairy they are often left with bad bloating, gas, stomach pain and even diarrhea.

6. Fatty foods

The higher the fat content in food, the longer your body will take to digest it. Fatty foods can include fatty cuts of meat like bacon, pork and dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, butter, etc.).

7. Raw foods

Raw fruits, vegetables and leafy greens can be harder to digest than cooked foods. You can try to cook your veggies and leafy greens (roast them, stew them, cook them in a soup or steam them), and you can even try stewed fruit – it can be quite yummy!

8. Caffeine

A lot of people swear by drinking a cup of coffee every day to keep them “regular”, but caffeine can actually cause major digestive disturbances which result in “the urge to go”. A lot of caffeine or a coffee overload can easily cause diarrhea and stomach pain.

9. Alcohol

Alcohol irritates the digestive system, and so drinking even a little bit causes your stomach to produce more acid than usual – this can cause gastritis (the inflammation of stomach lining) which often results in pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

10. Spicy foods

Spicy foods have no effect on certain people, but for others it can cause indigestion, gas, nausea and diarrhea. Spicy foods stimulate the digestive system and so it’s usually best to stick to bland foods if you’re having digestive issues.


It is important to remember that everyone’s bodies are different and we therefore all digest food differently. To cut all of these foods out of your diet would make your life very challenging – because there wouldn’t be much left to eat! If you suffer from IBS issues, then try one food out a time to see how your body reacts. If you feel good while eating tomatoes or raw vegetables then keep eating them, if you feel bloated after eating tomatoes or raw vegetables then try peeling the tomatoes (easy tomato peeling tip above) and cooking your vegetables.

I can eat raw fruits and vegetables – no problem, but if I eat too much raw food at once then I end up with a very sore, bloated stomach. These days I eat smaller salads than I used to and I often throw some oven roasted veggies into my raw salads (half raw, half cooked), it’s so delicious!

I also struggle to digest dairy (so I have cut it out of my diet completely) as well as certain grains like wheat. I sometimes struggle if I eat too much brown rice, barley or rye – so I will only eat a little bit of these!


Do you feel bloated, gassy or in pain after eating any of these foods?

If you do, you might just want to cut some of them out of your diet for a while or prepare them in a different way. You can always try to reintroduce them back into your diet at a later stage.

I hope that this helps you in your pursuit of health & happiness!

Liezl Jayne xo

Photo’s by Liezl Jayne for liezljayne.com