It's hard to eat when you have a bowel condition. If you have IBD (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and indeterminate colitis), or another type of bowel condition, you probably have found that certain foods trigger your intestinal symptoms, especially when the disease flares.
Learning to avoid these food triggers may allow you to better self-manage your condition, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, and promote intestinal healing.
You may feel hesitant to eat for fear of causing painful symptoms. Seventy-two percent of the people with bowel conditions improved their symptoms by restricting foods such as dairy products, processed meats, fast food, and alcohol.
Your body should be given a healthy diet with the right mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, salts, vitamins, and soluble and insoluble fiber — all requirements for avoiding embarrassing and painful consequences of bowel conditions.
People with inflammatory bowel disease are vulnerable to avoidant/restrictive food-intake disorder (ARFID), a kind of PTSD for food. A lot of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) keep a list: They’ve been burned before, and they don’t want to forget. What they’re trying to track are “trigger” foods, ingredients or dishes that, for one reason or another, lead to painful flare-ups of their IBD symptoms.
This fear of eating that’s caused by painful symptoms could lead you to malnutrition and start a dangerous cycle. When your body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs, you’re more prone to these painful symptoms, but you’re unable to get the nutrients because you fear eating.
Most experts believe, though, that some patients can identify specific foods that trigger their gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly during disease flares. By avoiding your "trigger foods," you may find that your GI symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea are more manageable. At the same time, you will give your inflamed intestines time to heal.
To be successful, be aware of the role that eating plays in your life, and learn how to use positive thinking and behavioral coping strategies to manage your eating and your condition.
8-10 glasses of water
High fiber carbohydrates (oat bran, legumes, barley)
Proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, poultry and soy
Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil and canola oil
Skinless, seedless, dark-colored fruits and vegetables
Vitamin and mineral supplements as recommended by your doctor
Low fat dairy products or dairy substitute if lactose intolerant
Although what you eat will not completely resolve most IBD symptoms, eating or not eating certain foods can often help to minimize them and ease discomfort. It is also advisable to eat smaller portions, more frequently.
Trigger foods that have caused problems in the past*
High fiber foods like beans
Nuts, seeds and popcorn
High fat foods
Caffeine and alcohol
Raw fruits and vegetables
Many people find that it is helpful to keep a food journal to track their body’s response to certain foods. This can help to identify “trigger” foods to avoid. However, you should always talk to your doctor before totally eliminating any foods or food groups from your diet as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
A food diary is a tool to record in detail:
What food you eat.
When you eat.
How you feel when you're eating.
What you are doing (if anything) while you are eating.
The diary can help you get a better understanding of what you eat and why you eat it. It also can help your doctor, therapist, or dietitian work with you to make the necessary changes for successful condition management.
These health-promoting regimens—the best evidence we have for a dietary approach to comprehensive health—focus on foods close to their original state, “nutrient-dense” because they still retain most of the vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, and phytochemicals the original plant or animal produced.
Beans, chickpeas, or lentils.
Vegetables, especially leafy greens.
Fruits, especially berries.
Fish and poultry.
Nuts and seeds.
Olive oil for cooking and dressings.
Superfoods, like turmeric & moringa.
A little wine if you drink alcohol. Otherwise plain water.
These healthy diets all minimize foods containing added sugars, salt, and fat, ingredients you wouldn’t use in your own cooking, and “ultra-processed” foods. They also suggest limiting butter/margarine, cheese, red meat, and fried foods.
Getting enough nutrition is valuable while eating food that doesn’t upset your stomach. The best way to maintain adequate nutrition is to work with your healthcare provider, make healthy food choices, and avoid foods that make your symptoms worse.
You may have less appetite, and the inflammation makes it harder for your body to absorb nutrients from the food you do eat. Having an anti-inflammatory meal plan that is full of recipes that have lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, is an up-and-coming treatment that can help with your bowel condition.
The anti-inflammatory diet has been used for millennia in traditional treatments for chronic conditions, including breathing problems, rheumatism, pain, and fatigue. Curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, has been touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because IBD are immune-mediated conditions that cause inflammation, there has been some research that shows that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can be helpful.
Anti-inflammatory meals are high in antioxidants and have been shown to decrease cholesterol, reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, and enhance skin clarity. Generally, they are also abundant in nutrients and should help those who are deficient in certain nutrients.
The Anti-Inflammation Diet For Beginners Challenge is an easy-to-follow guide to help those with inflammation eat their healthiest, especially during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The guide provides science-based information and easy-to-follow challenges. 7-Day Anti-Inflammation Challenge is a fabulous resource for those looking to fight inflammation, and the recipes can be added to any healthy cooking collection.
With the nutrition density and anti-inflammatory properties, these challenges can improve your overall nutrition and allow the bowel to rest. Bowel rest can reduce inflammation in the short and long term.
Doctors are recognizing that using nutrition rather than prescription is one of the most efficient ways to reduce inflammation. Nutritional support for chronic disease patients improves energy levels, discomfort, bloating, inflammation, and a variety of other symptoms. Eating the appropriate foods in the right amounts can assist you, and may even put your ailment into remission. Anti-Inflammatory Diets are what research suggests most helpful for patients with IBD and other bowel conditions.
They can relieve constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, remove inflammation, and even reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups symptoms. All of that while delivering essential nutrients without aggregating any symptom or making your condition worse.
The dietary recommendations listed here are intended to provide some very general guidelines only. There is no single eating plan that works for everyone with IBD.
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The anti-inflammatory diet entails eating foods that have been proved to combat inflammation while also avoiding items that have been shown to contribute to it. Get the guide and challenge to start and commit to your new lifestyle with the Anti-Inflammatory Diet For Beginners Challenge today!