Digestive Health Irritable Bowel Syndrome Nutrition Print What to Eat and Avoid If You Have Mixed IBS Symptoms By Barbara Bolen, PhD Updated August 16, 2019 Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician More in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Nutrition Causes & Diagnosis Living With Symptoms Treatment Support & Coping IBS With Constipation IBS With Diarrhea Related Conditions View All When dealing with the different (and often divergent) symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it can be difficult to know which foods you can and cannot eat safely. While people will often focus on the food types they need to avoid, it is just as important to find the foods that may actually help improve your symptoms. Here are some practical tips that can help if you find yourself suffering with either constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C), diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D), or alternating-type IBS (IBS-M): 1 Foods to Avoid If You Are Constipated Ross Durant Photography/Photolibrary/Getty Images If you are constipated, the last thing you need is to eat anything that is binding. To this end, here are some key foods you need to avoid: Anything made with white flour, especially white bread and baked goods made with hydrogenated fatsProcessed meat including bacon, bologna, sausage, and hot dogsDeep-fried foods (including food labeled "oven-fried")Chips of any sortDairy products such as cheese, sour cream, ice cream, and whole milkRed meatsBananasWhite rice 2 Foods to Eat If You Are Constipated Christopher Furlong/Getty Images If you are suffering from constipation, you will need to eat foods that get your system moving. Key to this is digestive fiber, also known as roughage. Especially useful is a type is known as insoluble fiber which does not dissolve in water but rather absorbs water as it passes through the intestines, softening stools in the process. The best food sources for this are: Fresh fruits (the best of which include berries, peaches, apricots, plums, and rhubarb)Whole grains which include wholegrain bread and cooked oats, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, or barleyFresh vegetablesDried fruit, especially prunes and raisinsPrune juiceNuts and nuts Beans and legumes (such as chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, navy beans, and kidney beans) are good sources of fiber but are also on the list of high FODMAP foods that can trigger IBS-D symptoms if you eat too much. 3 Foods to Avoid If You Have Diarrhea Elaine Lemm/Getty Images If you have diarrhea, the last thing you want is to eat foods that can aggravate your condition or cause you painful intestinal spasms. Some of the foods to avoid include: Dairy products, particularly high-fat cheeses, ice cream, whole milk, cream, and sour creamCreamy foods or foods with gravyDeep-fried foodsSugar-free foods made with artificial sweeteners including candies, gum, and diet sodasGas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, peaches, pears, and plumsDried fruitsCaffeinated coffee, tea, or sodasCarbonated drinksAlcohol 4 Foods to Eat If You Have Diarrhea Lew Robertson/Getty Images A basic, bland BRAT diet (consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is often recommended to help bind loose or watery stools. However, the restrictive diet should not be used as anything more than a short-term solution as it can deprive you of much-needed nutrition. To this end, you would want to compose a more balanced diet consisting of the following foods: BananasWhite riceWhite toast (not whole-grain)Mashed potatoesButternut, pumpkin, acorn squash, and other winter squashesSteamed, baked, broiled chicken or lean meatYogurt or kefir with a live bacterial cultureChicken brothFarina, oatmeal, or cream of wheatFresh vegetablesPretzelsFermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or pickles that have a probiotic effectSports drinks to prevent dehydration and replace electrolytes Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! One of the most challenging aspects of having IBS is trying to figure out what's safe to eat. Our recipe guide makes it easier. Sign up and get yours now! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Mueller-Lissner, S. and Wald, A. "Constipation in adults." BMJ Clin Evidence. 2010; 2010:0413. Barr, W. and Smith, A. "Acute Diarrhea in Adults ." Am Fam Physician. 2014; 89(3):180-9. Gibson, P. and Shepherd, S. "Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms: The FODMAP approach." J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010; 25:252-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.06149.x.