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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Coconuts

By Kate Beck ; Updated August 14, 2017

Doctors do not have a clear picture as to the reason some people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, a condition involving the digestive tract. People with this disorder often experience abdominal pain, bloating and bouts of constipation or diarrhea. Sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome find that eating certain foods can instigate a flareup of symptoms. Knowing the role of certain foods, such as coconut, may help your control your condition.


Doctors and researchers do not know the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, but some believe the condition results from intestinal sensitivity, with flareups resulting from eating habits and stress factors. Some evidence points to the presence of bacteria in the intestinal tract and that this may cause or instigate flareups of the condition. In addition, some people with irritable bowel syndrome may have a condition known as celiac disease, resulting from a reaction to gluten, a component of grains such as wheat and barley.


Coconut does not have any known benefits or risks for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Some people believe that coconut oil may help reduce symptoms associated with the condition. Raw coconut does contain fiber, and, in theory, this may help the condition since many people with irritable bowel find that a high-fiber diet helps reduce symptoms. However, coconut may not provide all of the fiber you need, so your doctor may recommend other fiber sources in your diet. This may include bran or a variety of fruits and vegetables.


In her book “Coconut Diet,” nutrition expert Cherie Calbom claims that coconut oil may help irritable bowel and other conditions. As of the date of this article, research does not link coconut in any way to the condition. Instead, doctors may recommend that you eat a high-fiber diet and may also prescribe one or more medications to help relieve your symptoms.


You should not try using coconut or coconut oil for irritable bowel syndrome without first consulting your doctor. Coconut oil contains a high amount of fat, and use -- particularly prolonged use -- may result in an increased risk for high cholesterol levels or other health conditions. Your doctor can work with you to determine the appropriate way to control your condition.

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