The diet of a person with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) neither causes nor cures the disease. But both doctors and nutritionists agree that some foods can make the process of inflammation that causes IBD symptoms worse.
Some meals may worsen symptoms, while others may alleviate them and speed recovery. So, a big part of treating IBD is paying attention to what you eat and how your body reacts to different foods. Dietary changes might be helpful when dealing with IBD, but they should never replace medical care. Never alter the recommended dosage of any drug.
IBD and Malnutrition
Malnutrition is frequently connected with inflammatory bowel disease because of the following:
- Digestion problems
- Protein, fat, carbohydrate, water, vitamins, and minerals are all poorly absorbed.
- Appetite loss and unintentional weight loss
- Increased caloric requirements of the body, particularly during disease flare-ups. More nutrient-dense foods must be ingested, which can be difficult when symptoms are present.
What To Eat During Flare-Ups
Reduce your fiber consumption - Low-fiber foods are easier to digest and less irritating to the gut, especially when suffering from abdominal pain or diarrhea symptoms. Choose:
White meals, rather than wheat or whole grains, and those with less than 2 grams of fiber per serving
Cooked veggies include green beans, carrots, skinless mashed potatoes, steaming asparagus tips, and pureed squash. Use either fresh or frozen.
Soft and canned fruits include peeled apples, bananas, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon), and tinned berries.
Eat plenty of protein — when inflammation is present, the body's demand for protein rises. Choose:
- Tender, perfectly cooked meats such as chicken, salmon, and pig that haven't had any fat added to them.
- Sodium and fat-free deli meats
- Eggs: perfectly done
- Peanut, almond, and sunflower seed butter are all delicious options for smooth nut and seed spreads.
- Make sure you're getting enough water by drinking at least eight glasses daily and supplementing with oral rehydration drinks if necessary. Drinks with caffeine, sugar, or sugar substitutes should be consumed in moderation.
Reduce the amount of extra fats and oils you eat. Choose liquid oils over solid ones, and don't eat more than eight teaspoons of oils per day.
You should get enough of these nutrients from your diet:
- Milk in many forms, including evaporated, fat-free, 1%, and 2%
- Milk that doesn't include lactose
- Low-protein alternatives include fortified almonds, cashew, coconut, and rice milks.
- Milk alternatives like soy and pea milk that have been fortified may make you feel bloated and gassy.
- Milk yogurt/yogurt without lactose
What to Eat During Remission
- Fiber intake should be increased, and whole grains should be reintroduced as symptoms subside.
- Eat more fatty fish (fresh, frozen, or canned) or take a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, which generally means fewer ingredients and less processing.
- To reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance, consume lactose-free or low-lactose dairy products or completely avoid dairy.
- Oils like olive oil and canola oil, rather than solid fats, can help improve tolerance to added fats.
- Eat protein-rich meals like beef, eggs, poultry, lean meats, and plant-based proteins like soy products.
- Water should replace soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea.
Healing Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Even though diet changes may not be enough to eliminate IBD symptoms, cutting out or limiting certain foods is often helpful. Eating less frequently but more frequently is also recommended.
Foods that have always been a concern, known as "trigger foods," should be avoided at all costs.
- Foods rich in dietary fiber, such as beans
- Popcorn, nut, and seed mixes
- Fatty foods
- Mixing caffeine and alcohol
- Culinary delights with a kick
- Fresh, uncooked produce
Many people find that keeping a food journal helps them understand how various foods affect their bodies. This can be useful in determining which foods may serve as "triggers" and hence be avoided. If you want a strict diet, you should only do so after talking to your doctor.
- Extracts of fruit
- Bananas and apple sauce
- Foods that are bland and soft
- Simple carbohydrates include cereals, white rice, and refined pasta
- Prepared vegetables without the skins
- Vitamins and minerals as prescribed by your physician or nutritionist Lean proteins if tolerated