The Importance of Fibre for People with Crohn's or Colitis in Ireland

The Importance of Fibre for People with Crohn's or Colitis in Ireland

Living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis in Ireland can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing diet. One crucial dietary component that often sparks confusion is fibre. Understanding the different types of fibre and their benefits can help people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) make informed choices.

Types of Fibre: Soluble vs Insoluble

Fibre comes in two main types: soluble and insoluble.

  1. Soluble Fibre: This type dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance. It's found in foods like oats, apples, carrots, and psyllium husk. Soluble fibre is known for its ability to slow digestion, which can be beneficial for people with IBD as it can help manage symptoms like diarrhea.
  2. Insoluble Fibre: This type does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stool and helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. Foods rich in insoluble fibre include whole grains, nuts, and vegetables like cauliflower and potatoes. While generally beneficial, insoluble fibre can sometimes be hard on the digestive system during an IBD flare-up.

Fibre Intake for People with IBD

For those with Crohn's or colitis, the balance and type of fibre consumed are crucial. The recommended daily fibre intake for adults is around 25-30 grams. However, people with IBD might need to adjust this based on their symptoms and disease activity. Here’s how to navigate fibre intake:

  • Start Low and Go Slow: Introduce fibre gradually to see how your body reacts. A sudden increase can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Soluble Fibre is Your Friend: Soluble fibre is often more easily tolerated. Foods like bananas, cooked carrots, and oatmeal can be soothing.
  • Caution with Insoluble Fibre: During a flare-up, it might be best to limit insoluble fibre. Opt for refined grains over whole grains and peel fruits and vegetables to reduce their fibre content.

Benefits of Fibre for IBD

Fibre plays a vital role in digestive health, even for those with IBD:

  • Promotes Healthy Digestion: Soluble fibre can help regulate bowel movements and manage diarrhea.
  • Feeds Good Gut Bacteria: Fibre acts as a prebiotic, nourishing beneficial bacteria in the gut, which supports overall gut health.
  • Reduces Inflammation: Some studies suggest that a diet rich in certain fibres can help reduce inflammation, a key factor in IBD.

Practical Tips for Including Fibre

Here are some tips for incorporating fibre into your diet safely:

  • Choose Cooked Over Raw: Cooked fruits and vegetables are often easier to digest.
  • Opt for Low-Fibre During Flare-Ups: When symptoms are active, switch to low-fibre foods like white bread, white rice, and plain pasta.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps fibre do its job effectively and can ease digestion.

Conclusion

Fibre is a crucial component of a healthy diet, even for those with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Supplements like Sylliflor, which contain psyllium husk, can help regulate digestion. Sylliflor Calcium, in particular, is beneficial during IBD flares as it helps manage diarrhea by slowing transit time and firming stools. These supplements can give you back control and enable you to continue your life even during a flare. Always consult with a healthcare provider to tailor dietary choices to your specific needs and condition.

Take care of your gut health and live your best life with IBD!

 

Roisin Cahill MPSI


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