How Can I Support Gut Health?
1. Add More (tolerated) Fiber-Containing Foods
Fiber encourages healthy gut bacteria to flourish and helps reduce the risk for colon cancer.
If you’re in a flare and worried about tolerating more fiber keep in mind that the type of fiber makes the difference. Start by slowly increasing soluble fiber since people with IBD can typically tolerate soluble better than insoluble fiber. Tolerated soluble fiber (such as oats, rice, nut butters, & potatoes) can actually help reduce diarrhea by forming a gel-like consistency and slowing digestion down. Just make sure that as you slowly increase fiber you’re also increasing your water intake.
2. Eat Probiotic and Prebiotic-Containing Foods
Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit to the host and Prebiotics are non-digestible foods that help growth and metabolize protective bacteria. Prebiotic and probiotic-containing foods have been suggested to improve mucosal barrier function, something that has found to be damaged in people with inflammatory bowel disease.
Two common tolerated prebiotic and probiotic containing foods in the IBD community is Greek yogurt with a banana or asparagus tips and tempeh.
3. Limit Red and Processed Meat Intake
High intake of red and processed meat is associated with an increased risk of colorectal and colon cancers. The risk is associated with how much and how frequently you consume these foods so aim to consume them sparingly. Instead, try substituting red and processed meats with fresh fish, poultry, or even a vegetarian meal if you can tolerate it.
And there you have it! My 3 tips for promoting a healthy gut. Include (1) Add more tolerated fiber-containing foods; (2) Aim for at least 1 serving of pro & prebiotic-containing foods daily, and; (3) Substitute Red and processed meats for fish, poultry or a vegetarian meal-if you can tolerate it.