Nutrition Tips for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. IBD is a broad term for two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). The actual cause of the condition is still unknown, but according to research, a combination of genetics, the immune system, and some environmental conditions may trigger inflammation in the digestive tract. Diet and stress may worsen the symptom of inflammatory bowel disease and therefore, a nutritional diet and some lifestyle changes can help you manage your flareups and period of remission.
Although there is no particular food, diet, or lifestyle that can prevent or cure IBD, managing your diet can help you manage your symptoms during flares and remission. The patient with Crohn’s or UC may have different nutritional requirements depending on the symptoms and severity of the condition. Before following any dietary plan, always consult with your doctor and registered dietitian.
Let us check out some nutritional requirements for both diseases during flare-ups and remission.
Nutritional recommendations during flareups
- Avoid eating unwanted things all the time during the day. If you are a frequent eater, eat smaller meals (5 to 6 per day). Smaller meals are easy to digest as they give your digestive system enough time to absorb essential nutrients in the body. It also helps minimize your gut symptoms.
- Change the texture of your food to soft, and then eat it by chewing it properly. It makes them easier to digest. You can include soups, smoothies, mashed vegetables, fruits without skin, etc., in your diet for easy digestion.
- Choose food that is rich in protein and calories. Also, count your protein and calorie intake. You can choose easy-to-digest protein-rich foods to keep yourself energetic. Some of the food recommendations are eggs, plain yogurt, smooth peanut butter, lean chicken, tuna, turkey, etc.
- If you are lactose intolerant and observe some symptoms due to this, you must avoid it during flare-ups. The symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, etc. Limit your intake of lactose-rich foods for a short period and watch for changes in your symptoms.
- You can also avoid insoluble fiber like leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, bran, etc. during this period and add foods with soluble fiber. It will aid in mucosal healing and prevent inflammation that occurs in the gut lining. You can include prebiotic fibers in your diet such as bananas, oatmeal, etc.
- In case of diarrhea, replace your fluid with an oral rehydration solution (ORS) to help you stay hydrated.
Nutritional recommendations during remission
- Always choose healthy and balanced dietary options for your daily meal, which contains a combination of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
- Avoid processed foods, as they contain artificial sweeteners and trans fats. Rather choose a variety of whole food such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.
- During remission, if you have no symptoms after taking fibrous food, do not restrict it from the diet. Food rich in fiber helps in mucosal healing by stimulating sodium absorption, water intake in the colon, and the development of helpful bacteria.
- Include foods rich in vitamin D3, as it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of flares.
- Avoid diets that are low in carbohydrates.
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