Does Whisky help IBS?
Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer to this question. In some people it may prove highly beneficial and in others it could make the symptoms much worse. For example, whisky contains Gluten and many people cannot tolerate Gluten so if certain food intolerances or sensitivities are present then whisky may be of no benefit whatsoever.
The problem with IBS is that one particular food or drink may have a negative impact on some individuals and no effect whatsoever on others. Similarly, some foods or drinks may prove beneficial in helping to alleviate the symptoms in some people with IBS but again, this same food or drink won’t work for everyone. Consequently, it isn’t possible to say conclusively whether whisky helps IBS or not as it would very much depend on the individual concerned and the way that their IBS affects them.
However, whisky is renowned for having medicinal properties; even the name in Gaelic is uisge beath which literally means the “water of life”. Whisky has been used by individuals for many years to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, particularly those affecting the digestive tract such as indigestion, flatulence and stomach cramps. It has also been used to treat infections of the respiratory tract and to ward off colds, and is even helpful for toothache. Whisky contains healthy anti oxidants (cancer busting chemicals) which can help neutralise free radicals and prevent them from damaging cells. The list goes on and on.
So how might whisky be able to help alleviate the symptoms of IBS?
Whisky and IBS
IBS is very much an individual condition whereby any sort of treatment plan or medicine involves a process of trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t. The same goes for food and drink. If a particular food or drink exacerbates IBS symptoms then it should be eliminated from the diet. At the same time, foods which help IBS should be included. As far as whisky is concerned it may prove beneficial for some people in the following ways:
- People who are suffering from stomach cramps, excess wind and abdominal bloating may find that whisky helps to settle their stomach and bring some relief.
- Whisky can also have a calming effect so may help to alleviate anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress are known to make the symptoms of IBS worse.
- Whisky can also aid the digestion of food, a process which can be highly inefficient in IBS sufferers.
On the other hand whisky may irritate the gastrointestinal tract and cause a great deal of discomfort and pain.With regard to drinks in general, some of the drinks most commonly reported to be beneficial for IBS also appear on the list of drinks that some people claim make their IBS symptoms worse. This includes milk, tea, lemonade and other fizzy drinks, cocoa, fruit juice and alcohol. There would be no harm in trying whisky in moderation but it is recommended that you speak to your doctor first as there may be other factors and contraindications present that might make it inadvisable.
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