Foods to Avoid for Irritable Bowel Disease

Published on 24 October 2023 at 13:30

Foods to Avoid for Irritable Bowel Disease

—Jill Fandrich, PharmD, CRPh


If you have inflammatory diseases, paying attention to your diet is important in order to manage symptoms and reduce inflammation. Here are some foods that may contribute to inflammation and should be avoided or limited:


1. Processed and refined sugars - Foods high in added sugars, such as sugary beverages, candies, and pastries, can promote inflammation. Opt for natural sweeteners like honey or fruit instead.


2. Fried and processed foods - Fried foods, fast food, and processed snacks often contain trans fats and high levels of unhealthy saturated fats, which can trigger inflammation. Choose baked or grilled options instead.


3. Red and processed meats - The consumption of red meats, especially those processed (e.g., sausages and hot dogs), has been associated with increased inflammation. Try to limit these and opt for lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, and plant-based protein alternatives.


4. Refined grains - Refined grains like white bread, white rice, and pasta have a high glycemic index and lack fiber, which can contribute to inflammation. Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread instead.


5. Artificial additives - Many processed foods contain artificial additives like preservatives, food colorings, and flavor enhancers, which may trigger inflammatory responses. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.


6. High-sodium foods - Excess sodium can cause water retention and increase inflammation. Avoid foods high in sodium, such as packaged snacks, canned soups, and processed meats. Instead, flavor your meals with herbs, spices, and lemon juice.


7. Dairy products - Some individuals with inflammatory diseases find that dairy products, particularly those containing lactose and casein, can worsen symptoms. Try to limit or eliminate dairy and opt for dairy-free alternatives like almond milk or coconut milk.


8. Alcohol and caffeine - Alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption may promote inflammation. Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages and opt for herbal teas or decaffeinated options.


It is important to note that individual responses to food may vary. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to create a personalized diet plan that suits your specific needs and condition.


Managing irritable bowel disease requires a careful selection of foods. Just remember, what you choose to avoid today will pave the way for relief and well-being tomorrow.

—Dr. Jill

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