Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: June, 2016

Avoid the Summer Blues at Barbeques

The sun is shining, burgers are on the grill, and the fridge is stocked with ice-cold beer. Your friends and neighbors are in the backyard for a barbeque, but you’re stuck in the bathroom because of symptoms related to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect around 1.4 million Americans, so the simple event of attending a summer barbeque can be a challenge to many.

Here are some foods to avoid and some healthier alternatives for people with IBD:

Alcohol: Alcohol can increase the symptoms of IBD and suppress the ability to absorb nutrients from food. Some people with IBD are able to drink moderately without increased symptoms, but doctors suggest avoiding alcohol altogether.
Healthier Alternatives: Water, lactose free milk, and natural fruit juices.

High-fiber foods: Foods that are high in fiber can be difficult to digest for people with IBD and can cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.  These include uncooked fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Healthier Alternatives: Smooth nut butters (peanut, almond, or cashew butter), vegetable soups, mango, papaya, and oatmeal.

Fatty foods (fried): Avoid fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, butter, or mayonnaise. Fat is a necessary part of any diet, but it’s important to eat healthy fats as opposed to unhealthy fats. Healthy fats provide omega-3 fatty acids and important fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary to stay healthy.
Healthier Alternatives: Avocados, pureed beans (hummus), smooth nut butters, and fish (salmon, trout, catfish).

Spicy foods: Spicy foods can increase IBD symptoms in a similar manner as alcohol. Also similar to alcohol, the tolerance of spicy foods varies from person to person.
Healthier alternatives: Mild spices and citrus juices (lemon, lime). Keep in mind people who also suffer from reflux may also wish to limit citrus products.

Red meat and pork: Red meat and pork should be avoided in the case of IBD because meats with more fat tend to block absorption of key nutrients. Red meat and pork also contain more sulfur than lean meats such as chicken and turkey. sulfur can block anti-inflammatory molecules in the colon, leading to an increase in unwanted symptoms.
Healthier alternatives: Chicken, fish (salmon and tilapia), turkey, and eggs.

Living with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis can be tough, and the symptoms and “trigger foods” vary from person to person. Doctors recommend maintaining a daily food journal to keep track of your diet and related symptoms. Try replacing trigger foods with some of these healthier alternatives, and get back to enjoying your summer barbeques.

If you experience symptoms related to inflammatory bowel diseases and want to get tested, call the GI Associates of Wausau at 887-442-7762. For more information visit the GI Associates Patient Education webpage.