Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as the name suggests is the inflammation of different parts of the bowel. This affects the process of digestion, absorption and nutrition, causing stomach pain, cramps, inability to retain food eaten (diarrhea, nausea or vomiting), and unintended loss of weight. These symptoms and the increased urgency and frequency of bowel movements, cause many to lose their appetite and avoid eating, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration. When diagnosed with IBD, many patients face a dilemma in the foods they can eat. While some foods can trigger or aggravate symptoms, one has to follow a balanced diet to avoid malnutrition. So, we have listed a few pointers that can help you lower symptoms, eat well, stay healthy and most importantly, enjoy your food.
- Let’s start by clearing a myth – IBD is not caused by food, neither can it be cured or prevent by avoiding certain foods.
- There is no standard diet to alleviate IBD symptoms. It helps to maintain a diary about all the foods that trigger or worsen symptoms, and reduce them during an attack. It is advisable to substitute the particular food with another that can be tolerated instead of avoiding it completely. This ensures that you get all your nutrients.
- Getting all the required nutrition is difficult during a disease flare, so a constant healthy diet during disease remission gives you this overall feeling of wellness, improves immunity and healing, gives you more energy and can also relieve some gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Maintaining good nutrition also increases the effectiveness of IBD medications and counteracts its ill-effects. Calcium, vitamin D and folic acid supplementation is important while taking various medicines for IBD.
- Replenish your gut with good bacteria by taking probiotics.
- Smaller and more frequent meals are better tolerated.
Some of the foods that you can restrict or reduce the intake include:
- Milk and dairy products
- Fatty foods
- Certain fibrous foods such as dried fruits, unpeeled apples and oranges
- Spicy food
- Gas-producing vegetables
- Whole seeds and nuts
- Processed meat
All diet changes should be done under the guidance of your doctor or nutritionist.
At Greater Houston Gastroenterology, we provide specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our dedicated clinical staff and physician assistants are available to assist in delivering high-quality treatment and expert care. As the largest GI group in the greater Houston area, we offer 17 locations for your convenience.