Food intake DOES matter for IBD

Have you ever had a doctor or gastroenterologist tell you that it doesn't matter what you eat with Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis, it won't change the outcome of your disease? This is not true. YES dietary habits do not cause IBD, however they can be a powerful tool in the management of symptoms and remission.

There are several components we can address through food choices.

Food triggers are a big one. These specific types of foods are those that don't agree with the individual and that seem to set off a flare or digestive symptoms. There can be a few ways to deal with trigger foods. Repair work may need to begin on the lining of the digestive tract or rebalance of the gut microbiome (bacteria in the gut), if the person is highly sensitive to most foods. Complete avoidance of trigger foods is only necessary if they are an allergy or if they still cause symptoms while in remission or after extensive gut repair work has taken place.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

This diet is very common among the IBD community, however I believe that specific diets shouldn't be followed to a tee, but instead concepts taken from the diet and adapted to the way the individual's body works. For example; garlic is highly anti-inflammatory, however being high in mannitol it can cause some gas or bloating in people who are intolerant to mannitol. The anti-inflammatory diet suggests only consuming foods which have anti0inflammatory properties, or have not been found to increase inflammation in the body. Commonly it suggests the removal of sugar, dairy, wheat, processed foods and some meats.

The SCD Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate diet (SCD Diet) is another very common diet of focus in the IBD community. While it is similar to the anti-inflammatory diet, it does accept meats and cheeses and doesn't include seaweed, legumes or potatoes. Originally invented to assist in Coeliac Disease, the SCD Diet has weaved its way in with other conditions as well. Concepts can be taken from each of these diets and adapted to your individual needs and gut health.

Smaller more frequent meals

6 small meals per day instead of 3 large meals has been found to be beneficial in IBD cases. It can help to reduce indigestion, bloating and nausea in some people, simply because larger meals take more to process and put a larger strain on the gut. In addition, it will assist in balancing blood sugar throughout the day which is especially important for keeping nausea and dizziness at bay.

Gut irritants

For the general public it can be perfectly fine to consume foods and beverages which can have an irritating effect on the gut lining as their digestion is robust enough to manage these changes. However, for those with digestive diseases, I usually recommend against it. Especially for a period of time after a flare. Alcohol, coffee, caffeine and hot and spicy foods can just prolong the healing process and make the road to remission a little longer. This is not to say they will never be included in your diet again. But for the most part while working towards long term remission, it is advised against.

For personalised direction on how your diet can help settle your symptoms, book in with me today and let's discuss your path to remission. It is important to remember no one diet will work for everyone.

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