Let’s talk about guts! (Does drinking kefir reduce the pain of IBS?)

You probably don’t want to know about my guts: I certainly don’t want to know about yours!  However, if you, like me, suffer from IBS (let us not be any more specific than that) you will be eager to learn about anything that might bring you relief…

Bowl of kefir
Photo by schwabin

There are fashions in healthcare just as there are fashions in … fashion, and one of the latest is fermented food.  Fermented foods are good for you.  It is official.  Scientists say so.  The BBC’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor says so, quite frankly, it must be true.  I decided to investigate.

It transpired that there are lots of fermented foods.  Hooray, I thought, I will stuff my face with them immediately, and will stop farting within minutes! What was especially good was that the list of fermented foods included cheese and wine.  Who knew?! I decided to invite everyone I knew to a cheese and wine party; I was – you understand -only doing it for the sake of our communal guts. Obviously, life just isn’t that lovely.  I quickly discovered that the fermented foods that our guts crave are things like komucha and miso and something called kefir.   Kefir seemed the least awful of those (being fermented milk), so I decided to give kefir ago.

I think it is safe to call my husband long suffering.  We’ve been married since Noah was in the Sea Scouts, and he hasn’t run off yet, but sometimes (mostly when I am trying to persuade him to eat something new and allegedly healthy) you can see the urge to flee in his eyes.  At first, although I drank kefir in his presence with a pantomime of huge enthusiasm, he refused to try it.  Fortunately, men are a lot like supermarket trolleys: if you keep pushing them long enough they eventually go where you want them to.  After a couple of weeks, with much eye-rolling and grunting, he took the tiniest sip.  Much to his surprise, he didn’t collapse and die.  In fact, he conceded when questioned at length that it was, and I quote, “not as bad as he expected”, which I felt was something of a triumph.  What’s more, after several weeks of giving him a glass every morning, he commented that he “quite liked it,” and that, “he thought it was doing him good”.  And I think it has been doing me good too.

Just so you know, I still have IBS. However, I think and, of course, I very much want this to be true, that my guts are slightly less rumbustious than previously.  So if you suffer from IBS too, you might want to give kefir a go.



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