Remember Fibre to Promote A Healthier Gut with IBD
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) you may have significantly reduced the amount of fiber in your diet even when you are symptom free. What you may not know is the power fiber may have in reducing your risk of an IBD flare ups and disease severity. There are two types of IBD called Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Each type of disease differs by where in the gut and the depth of damage within the gut lining. By including enough fiber in your diet, you may reduce the length of time you are diagnosed with IBD and the severe symptoms in all forms of IBD. If you suffer from CD by including more fiber in your diet you may decrease your risk of developing a flare up.
Fiber is important in promoting a healthy gut microbiome and gut environment and lining. Research of people with IBD concluded that those with the least amount of fiber in their diet had more hospital admissions, had a history of surgery, and suffered from the disease for more of their life.
People with CD who ate the least amount of fiber in their diet compared to those with the most fiber over a 6-month period were more likely to suffer from an IBD flare up. Those individuals who reported that they did not avoid high fiber foods had a 40% less likelihood of a flare up than those who restricted their fiber intake.
This is good news if you suffer from IBD and specifically CD. By being able to include more fiber in your diet it will also provide you with more freedom. A greater variety of plant foods in your diet does not only decrease boredom but gives your body more nutrients and allows your body to be healthier. If you do develop a flare up this is when fiber, specifically insoluble fiber, should be limited to prevent further aggravation and you need to follow the recommendations of your Accredited Practising Dietitian and doctor. However, when you are symptom free fiber is a beneficial part of your diet for many reasons including potentially reducing your risk of IBD flare ups.
Including a variety of plant food sources which include whole grains like Corn Thins slices each day can help you to achieve your fiber needs. An adult needs between 25-38g of fiber each day for gut and overall health.
Take home message: There is no need to fear fiber if you suffer from IBD. Fiber is a friend to your gut and its optimal function which may reduce your risk of complications and severity of IBD and flare ups for those with CD.
Brotherton CS, Martin CA, Long MD, Kappelman MD, Sandler RS. Avoidance of Fiber Is Associated With Greater Risk of Crohn's Disease Flare in a 6-Month Period. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Aug;14(8):1130-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.12.029. Epub 2015 Dec 31. PMID: 26748217; PMCID: PMC4930425.