The 10 Best Foods for IBS Symptoms

Certain foods can help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These include foods that are low in carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) that cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain by slowly fermenting in the intestines.

Foods that are low in saturated fat can also help ease IBS symptoms.

This article lists the various proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other foods that are most likely to help your IBS symptoms.

Lean Meats

Young Asian woman grocery shopping and choosing fresh poultry in supermarket - stock photo

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Lean meats mainly consist of protein. Lean protein digests easily, and the gut bacteria that help break down food don't ferment it—meaning that you will have far less gas.

You should be able to eat the following proteins with confidence if you have IBS:

  • White meat chicken
  • White meat turkey
  • Lean pork
  • Lean cuts of beef (such as sirloin, filet, top round, eye round, and bottom round)

Fatty cuts of meat are rich in saturated fat. These fats are harder to break down and cause intestinal inflammation that can make IBS symptoms worse. Even dark chicken or turkey meat can be problematic for some people with IBS.

Choose Free-Range Meats

The only exceptions to the rule may be grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, or free-range poultry. Animals raised in these ways have more "healthy" polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that can minimize gut inflammation and be gentler on the intestines if you have IBS.


Eggs digest easily and are a safe choice for people with IBS. Eggs can be enjoyed hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, or poached. Omelets and frittatas can be your meal of choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and make a great option when eating out in a restaurant

With that said, not every person's body responds to eggs the same. Some people with IBS are sensitive to the proteins in egg whites, while others react to the higher fat content of egg yolks.

You may need to go through some trial and error to see what egg preparations work best for you if you have IBS.

Fatty Fish

Fatty cold-water fish are high in PUFAs known as omega-3 fatty acids that have robust anti-inflammatory effects. As gut inflammation is known to contribute to IBS symptoms, eating more omega-3-rich fish can help.

These include fatty fish such as:

  • Anchovies
  • Black cod
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Whitefish


People who have IBS tend to avoid vegetables because they believe that they will make their symptoms worse. These include sulfur-containing cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and Brussels sprouts that cause gas.

However, vegetables are very good for your gut flora (the bacteria and yeast that aid with digestion) and your overall gut health.

If you find vegetables hard to digest, start by gradually adding those that are less likely to cause gas and bloating, including:

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Scallions
  • Squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Water chestnut
  • Zucchini

You may also find that cooked vegetables are more gentle on your stomach than raw vegetables. You can steam, sauté, or roast vegetables, but avoid adding spices or butter.

Leafy Greens

In addition to the IBS-friendly vegetables listed above, leafy greens are packed with nutrients and are unlikely to cause gut fermentation.

If you can tolerate them raw, leafy greens can be added to smoothies, juices, or salads. But, if you are like most people with IBS, you may find that your body is less reactive if the greens are cooked.

Among the leafy greens to add to an IBS-friendly diet are:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Collard greens
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Radicchio 
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard


Like vegetables, fruits have some nutrients that are good for your gut flora. With that said, many fruits are high in short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that can promote fermentation and can make IBS symptoms worse, particularly when overconsumed.

You can reap the nutritional benefits of fruits while better managing your IBS symptoms by consuming the following fruits lower in sugar:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blueberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberry


Nuts are a good source of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can also make you feel full after a meal so you'll be less likely to snack.

You can enjoy nuts by the handful or in nut butter. To avoid saturated or trans fat that can promote gut inflammation, go for raw nuts rather than those that have roasted, flavored, spiced, or sweetened.

Here are nuts that are ideal for meals or snacks if you have IBS:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts

Do Not Overdo It

Be careful not to overconsume nuts because they are packed with insoluble fiber that can make diarrhea worse if you have diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D).


Seeds are great sources of fiber and may benefit people with constipation-predominant (IBS-C).

They are also nutritionally dense and are packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals. Some seeds can be sprinkled on salads or oatmeal, added to smoothies, or used to flavor cooked foods.

The seeds most beneficial to an IBS-friendly diet include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seed
  • Flaxseed
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Sunflower seed

Roasting and Grinding Seeds

Some harder seeds like cumin seed, fennel seed, and flaxseed may need to be toasted and ground to be more digestible. The toasting can be done on the stove in a dry pan, while grounding can be done with mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods contain many natural strains of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and yeasts that help normalize the gut flora and aid with digestion.

Probiotics are also useful if you have active IBS-D as they can restore healthy bacteria that have been lost through diarrhea.

Probiotic-rich foods for an IBS-friendly diet include:

  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt (unsweetened)

What About Fermented Soy?

Miso and tempeh are soy-based products that are rich in probiotic bacteria but can cause gas and bloating in some people.

Bone Broth

For centuries, broth made from animal bones was a staple in human diets. Bone broths (made from stewing bones in water and vegetables) are thought to contain nutrients that are healthy for gut flora and the intestinal lining.

Some studies suggest that bone broth may also have anti-inflammatory effects that can help ease abdominal cramping and diarrhea.


You can ease your IBS symptoms by eating a balanced diet that is low in FODMAPs and saturated fat. These include lean meats, eggs, fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fruits that are lower in sugar. Fermented foods may also be good for the gut flora in you have IBS.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.