Could you shed some light on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and how to manage it?

In IBS, the intestines are very sensitive and irritable. A slight trigger can give you symptoms like bloating or gas, constipation, diarrhea/cramping. One of the causes of IBS is food sensitivity. Consistent exposure to foods your gut is sensitive to, can aggravate gut-related symptoms. One common food allergen or pro-inflammatory food is dairy. Even if you are not lactose intolerant, you might not be comfortable with milk products. The other cause of IBS is a microbial imbalance in the gut. The gut bacteria should stay in the large intestine. However, when there’s bacterial overgrowth, the bacteria moves up in the small intestine worsening gut issues. This bacteria ferments carbs, hence, many of us feel bloated after having starchy foods like bread, cereal, pasta, sugary food. The first step to heal IBS is to reboot the gut. Avoid all pro-inflammatory, difficult-to-digest foods like grains, dairy, sugar, processed junk food, trans fats, and start having gut-soothing foods like cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, fermented food like pickle, healthy fats from avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds. Next, take care of your emotional and mental health. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate gut issues. Practice meditation, yoga or anything that helps you stay mentally relaxed. With time, your gut’s tolerance to various food will get better.

I am a 35-year-old woman struggling to reduce fat from my tummy and around the hips. Please suggest a diet plan.

You need to monitor your food intake. There are a few things you can do for that:

1: Check how much you are eating through the day.

2. You need to see where the calories are coming from. Even if you are eating 300-400 calories extra but they are coming in from

healthy fats and protein, you can experience a drop in weight. But this is individual-specific. Everyone has a unique metabolism.

3. 30 per cent of your daily calories should come from healthy proteins such as eggs, fish, meat or chicken. If you are vegetarian, then

lentils and vegan protein shakes.

4. Do a 15-20 day gut cleanse before you start following all of this, where you eliminate some anti-inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar.

5. Stress less and do more.

6. Lastly, if you’re dehydrated all day, even the best diet won’t help. Have at least three litres of water daily, so your liver has all the support to metabolise fat efficiently.