Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions that affects the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The most common types of IBD include Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
People who suffer from IBD have an irritated, hypersensitive, and inflamed system that leads to poor digestion and reduces the ability to absorb vital nutrients. This medical condition also causes a buildup of toxins, leaky gut, and may also lead to a whole range of other serious health issues.
When it comes to our digestive health, a system that works well is key to our overall health and wellness. Our body requires vital nutrients in order to perform its many functions and tasks, without adequate support to our body will not function optimally and not be able to stay healthy. Some of the common health implications we can experience include:
– Being more susceptible to illness; experiencing more cold and flu related symptoms which would indicate that your immune system is not functioning as it should be
– Recurrent Anemia and electrolyte disorders
– Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight; weight gain and difficulty losing weight
– Symptoms associated with arthritis; inflammation and pain
– Symptoms associated with Candida (overgrowth of undesirable gut bacteria); recurring yeast/fungal infections, feeling tired or worn down, irritability and mood swings
– Symptoms associated with depression; low mood, loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Strategies to Best Support IBD
First of all, avoid foods that may cause further irritation and inflammation, including:
– Gluten: wheat, barley, spelt, and rye can cause inflammation to our gut lining because they are difficult to break down.
– Dairy Products: milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream create mucous, cause inflammation, and prevent the proper absorption of nutrients.
– Caffeine: coffee, soft drinks, and black tea can damage the digestive lining.
– Alcohol: causes intestinal permeability, or in other words, it allows larger undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream.
– Refined foods: white flour, bread, cookies, white rice, and processed packaged foods cause imbalance to our blood sugar levels and support the growth of undesirable gut bacteria
– Processed Meats: commercially raised animal products and farmed fish support the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut.
– Sweets: high fructose corn syrup (HCFC), sugar, rice syrup, molasses, and all the other types of sugar.
– Unstable oils: hydrogenated, Trans fats, all heated polyunsaturated oils, and all commercial oils (except olive oil, flax, and hemp) disrupt the omega3-6 balance in the body, which causes inflammation to our gut lining
– Artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and colorings can cause severe damage to our intestinal lining.
– Allergens: all allergens cause inflammation and leaky gut
Enrich your diet with foods that promote healing of an irritated and inflamed gut, including:
– Chia Seeds: contain huge amount of anti-inflammatory essential fats
– Flaxseeds: rich in anti-inflammatory essential fats.
– Turmeric: has powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
– Oregano: well-known for its strong antimicrobial properties.
– Ginger: is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
– Chicory Root is full of prebiotic that can improve digestion.
– Virgin Coconut Oil has powerful antiviral and antifungal that can help reduce candida overgrowth.
– Rosemary: acts as anti-parasitic.
– Thyme: also known for its antimicrobial properties.
– Cinnamon: improves digestion
– Foods from the Brassica Family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower.
– Pumpkin Seeds: can be very helpful in the regeneration process of the GI tract due to their strong anti-inflammatory properties and high amount of zinc.
– Onions: also have strong anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties
– Garlic is anti-parasitic and has anti-microbial properties.
– Leafy Green Vegetables: will give you the proteins and nutrients that can be very helpful in the treatment of leaky gut.
Strategies to Improve Digestion, Absorption and Elimination
– Eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly to help activate digestive enzymes
– Take your time and really enjoy the taste, texture, and aromas of the food
– Eat only when your are genuinely hungry and only eat to the feeling of “fullness”
– Have your largest meal in the middle of the day
– Have 3 main meals plus 2 healthy snacks each day
– Try to consume nothing after 9:00 pm
– Do not eat when you are angry, anxious or upset
– Avoid reading, watching TV or arguing while you are eating, instead eat in peace and relaxation
– Do not drink liquids during meals, as they dilute stomach acids. Drink at the end of the meal instead
– Support digestive weaknesses by taking a digestive enzyme supplement and a probiotic supplement
Proper food combining will help you achieve the best possible nutrient absorption. Not all foods are digested and absorbed in the same way; for this reason, how we combine our foods can have a huge effect on the process of nutrient absorption.
– Fruits and sugars should be eaten by themselves or in combination with other fruits and sugars. The best would be to avoid sugars whenever you can. When it comes to fruits, it is recommended to eat no more than 3 servings daily due to their high amount of natural sugar.
– Avoid eating proteins or fats with starch.
– Combine protein and fats, or protein and veggies, or starches and veggies in the same meal.
– Never eat more than one protein source per meal.
Proteins: Eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, meats, poultry, milk, cheese, butter, almond butter, peanut butter.
Starches: rains, lentils, beans, rice, potatoes, bread, flour, pasta, cookies, pastries, and other root vegetables.
Vegetables: All vegetables except root vegetables
Fruits and sugars: All fruits, honey, maple syrup, sweeteners.
Fats: Olive oil, butter, oil based salad dressings, etc.
A whopping 70% of our immune system is located around the digestive system, which is why it is of utmost importance to maintain its health and enhance its ability to remove toxins. Our colon works at its optimum capacity when it is full of water and fiber.
That’s why we strongly recommend you to drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of quality drinking water and to consume between 25-30 grams of fiber each day. Moreover, you should also include more flax oil and fish oil into your diet. Regular exercising is another good option since it increases peristalsis (the movement of food through the digestive tract).