The Anti-Inflammatory Diet has been popping up everywhere lately. It is especially interesting in the realm of diseases like IBD. The thought is that by eating foods that prevent inflammation in the body you can prevent flare ups of your IBD.
The main “rules” of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet are pretty simple. People following this plan should avoid foods that have been shown to cause inflammation in the body. Some of these foods include; saturated and trans fats, chemicals and preservatives (like nitrates) and foods high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Instead dieters are advised to include as many whole foods as possible. Foods high in omega-3’s (coldwater fish, walnuts, flax seeds, canola oil or pumpkin seeds) and olive oil are the “good fats” that make up the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Lean sources of protein (lean poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, soybeans, tofu and soy milk), fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber and water are also staples on this plan.
The role of Omega 3’s in the inflammatory process is of great interest to many people and is very big in the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. The recent research into the use of its supplementation in IBD has produced conflicting results. Most of the studies on Omega-3 supplementation did not control for the patients overall diet. It is impossible to determine if the outcome would have changed if dietary guidelines had also been established. (For more information on Omega-3’s read Dr. Eisner’s post.)
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet has many similarities to the recommendations that the American Dietetics Association has been giving for years. Everyone, not just those with IBD, should adapt a healthy eating plan that limits those processed fatty foods and increases intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
Whether this diet can prevent flare ups or cure IBD remains to be seen. IBD can vary dramatically from person to person so it is unlikely that any one plan will work for each individual. For the time being it is wise to take the healthy eating tips from this diet plan and those established by the ADA (www.eatright.org) to nourish your body in the fight against IBD. Should you choose to use a supplement remember that it is just “extra insurance” not a license to eat unhealthful foods and always discuss any supplements with your doctor.
For more Crohn’s & Colitis dietary & nutritional information click here.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.