A Winning Diet For People With Digestive Issues
A sensitive stomach is no picnic. The good news is that plenty of foods are perfectly safe to eat no matter what your diagnosis. Patients who suffer from irritable bowel disease (IBD), irritiable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease, for example, often feel quite limited in dietary options. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Raw vegetables and salads are pretty much off the table; and many patients end up eating a lot of carbs. With a bit of creativity, the choices are endless.
“[A] diet I suggest for both IBD and IBS is a low ‘FODMAP’ diet,” says Joyann Kroser, M.D., a Crozer-Keystone gastroenterologist.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccarides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause excess gas and bloating. Examples are [foods such as] onions, garlic and dairy products.”
Let's narrow down the diet options with some tips on how to get the best nutrition while taking good care of your digestive tract.
Vegetables are the food group Crohn’s and IBD sufferers fear most. Instead of eating raw foods, consider vegetable soups as well as pureed squash, carrots and parsnips. They’/[re perfectly fine to consume anytime, even during a flare-up. If you crave a salad, bibb and butter lettuce are soft and digestible. Instead of raw peppers, try roasted red peppers.
Another great source of fiber is oatmeal. Fiber is vital to good health, but insoluble fiber, the kind found in raw veggies, fruits and nuts, draws water into the colon and can worsen symptoms of diarrhea for people with IBD. We don’t want that.
Oatmeal, on the other hand, is fiber of a different variety. It's soluble, meaning that it absorbs water and passes more slowly through your digestive tract. By the way, avocados are also chock-full of soluble fiber. Bonus – they're rich in vitamin E, potassium and B vitamins.
Fully one-quarter of the foods you eat should be high in protein. Top choices are lean proteins like salmon, shrimp, white fish like tilapia, chicken, and turkey. You should prepare these with as little fat as possible. Steam, broil and grill protein rich foods. Also, try pureed beans like lentils and chickpeas, which are high in protein and should be safe even if you are having a bad day with your Crohn's. Eggs are a great choice as well.
Have you ever found yourself eating lots of carbs because they’re bland? It’s fine to eat rice, but remember that healing is fastest when you consume an assortment of foods that provide a full range of nutrients.
Kroser warns that Crohn’s sufferers can’t just tweak their diet. “Diet alone is not usually sufficient for controlling Crohn’s,” she says. “It’s an adjunct to medical therapy.”
One thing you need to know is that a balanced diet is trial and error. Not every food will be right for your system. So start slow, but don’t be afraid to branch out a bit.
Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).