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Inflammatory Bowel Disease


What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease is the common name given to two diseases where there is an inflammation of the intestines. These two diseases are known as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

These diseases cause the intestines to form ulcers and become inflamed, scarred and easy to bleed.

Symptoms of IBD:

The most common symptoms are diarrhoea, acute abdominal pain, cramping, fever and fatigue.

Diet and nutrition:

Diet and nutrition is very important in IBD management to prevent malnutrition and extreme weight loss.

The aim of the diet is to keep stools soft and easy to pass.

Therefore, eat foods high in soluble fibre i.e:

– Oats and oat bran

– Foods containing bran such as brown bread, all bran flakes and whole wheat flours.

– Eat legumes without skins and pips such as split peas, split lentils and soya. These can be added to mince dishes or stews, curries and casseroles.

– Eat fruit without skins, pips and seeds.

However, during inflammation limit the above high fibre foods and follow a low fibre diet to give the bowel a rest and to minimise symptoms.

Exclude the following from your diet as they may cause inflammation:

– Skins and pips of all fruit and vegetables. Rather avoid fruit and vegetables such as peas, brinjals, berries or figs as the skins are very difficult to remove.

– Raw dried fruit.

– All seeds including sunflower and sesame seeds.

– Nuts and crunchy peanut butter or any food with nuts in it.

– Legumes with husks such as baked beans, dried beans, dried peas and lentils.

– Green mealies, samp, sweetcorn and bean sprouts.

– Coconut (especially in cakes and biscuits).

– Crushed wheat and whole wheat kernels.

– Highly spiced and food with pepper.

– Limit caffeine, alcohol and sorbitol (a type of sweetener) as these may cause flare ups.

– Limit gas-producing foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions and chives, peppers and carbonated drinks (coke, sprite).

Other general guidelines include:

– Drink lots of fluid (8 glasses / 2 litres per day) to keep body hydrated and prevent constipation.

– Avoid lactose-containing foods such as dairy if you have lactose intolerance.

– Follow a low-fat diet as meals high in fat may cause discomfort. This can be done by eating low fat dairy products, removing excess fat from food and by not eating fried foods.

– Avoid smoked foods as they may irritate the stomach (the intestines).

– Eat small frequent meals during the day i.e 3 small meals plus 3 small snacks.

– Avoid very hot or very cold foods.

By Melissa Pyle, BSc. in Dietetics, Registered Dietician (SA)

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