Safe Drinks for IBS? Are There Any?

"Is there anything I can I drink besides plain water that's safe for IBS?"

I get asked this question all the time, and I love it, because I can give such a wonderful answer.

Yes! There are many, many drinks besides water that are safe for IBS, and some are downright helpful for preventing and/or relieving IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.

Herbal teas, fruit smoothies, herbal coffees, Indian chais, flavored rice (and oat, hemp, almond, soy) dairy milk substitutes, even hot chocolate - there's quite a long list, so you have a lot of delicious options.

  • What matters most: avoid beverage triggers (dairy, caffeine, coffee, tannic acid, carbonation, alcohol, high fat content, artificial sweeteners).

  • Focus on adding IBS aids (soluble fiber, beneficial herbs) to safe beverages. At worst you'll be drinking something that simply won't harm your IBS, and at best you can enjoy drinks that actively help.

  • Where to start? Try:

    • Peppermint tea for abdominal pain, spasms, or cramps. Make sure the tea is organic, large leaf, and high volatile oil, as the stronger it is the more effective it will be. Medicinal strength is best. Brew it so strong it's black.

    • Fennel tea for bloating and gas. As with peppermint, fennel tea should be high volatile oil, organic, and made with whole fennel seeds (not ground) for maximum medicinal strength.

    • Ginger tea for nausea (you can also brew a chunk of fresh gingerroot in freshly boiled water).

    • Chamomile tea for relaxing the gut and nervous system.

  • Use herbs and spices in naturally caffeine-free chai recipes, such as Indian Chai Milk Tea. Don't want to bother making your own chai? Look for decaf versions ready-made in the tea/coffee aisle of grocery stores (Pacific and Oregon brands are both tasty).

  • Looking for a more filling drink? Blend up a fresh fruit smoothie. Blending mechanically breaks down the insoluble fiber in fruit, making it much more tolerable for IBS. For an all-around digestive aid plus a soluble fiber foundation, try a blend of probiotics and prebiotics in your fruit smoothie, using a non-dairy yogurt with live cultures and a prebiotic soluble fiber supplement such as Tummy Fiber.

  • Many rice, soy, oat, hemp, and almond milks, especially vanilla flavored, make great drinks in their own right. Chocolate soy milk makes a terrific hot chocolate - just heat and serve. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for a healthy and delicious twist. For a frosty dessert treat, blend chocolate soy/rice milk with chocolate soy/rice ice cream.

  • Decaffeinated green and black teas are tolerable for many people with IBS - just watch out if you're prone to heartburn or reflux, as the tannic acid in teas can sometimes aggravate that.

  • Kombucha, which is fermented black or green tea, has live cultures (probiotics). That might actively help IBS. Kombucha is naturally carbonated as a result of the fermentation, and carbonation can cause IBS trouble. So crack the lid on a bottle or can of kombucha and let stand till flat before you drink it. And read ingredients to make sure they aren't adding things you don't want.

  • Roasted herbal and soy coffees, which are available in many different brands, are not only usually safe for IBS but delicious, especially brewed with a little rice, almond or oat milk for extra creaminess. There are wonderful flavors like mocha and hazelnut available, so experiment and find your own favorite.

Tip Takeaway: There are tons of tasty options for IBS safe drinks. Even better - choose a drink that will actively help prevent or reduce IBS symptoms!

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