Cooking for IBD

Eating a balanced diet when you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be challenging. People who live with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis may find that many healthy and nutritious foods are now off-limits, as they can aggravate their condition and cause flare ups.

Raw fruits and vegetables often pose the most problems for IBD sufferers. These raw foods tend to have a crunchy texture and be high in fibre. Many people with IBD find it difficult to digest these foods and the high fibre content can exacerbate common IBD symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea.

You can take the ‘ouch’ out of some of these nutritious foods by preparing them in different ways.

Stewing

Stewing is a great option for tough-to-digest fruits and vegetables. Stewed fruits are particularly tasty and can be consumed on their own or with accompaniments such as yoghurt or porridge for breakfast. Try stewing some apples or berries in a little bit of water with some cinnamon and vanilla for extra flavour.

Stewing vegetables is also a great way to make them softer and easier to digest whilst ensuring you’re still absorbing plenty of the nutrients they have to offer. Best of all, stewed vegetables have a warming, hearty comfort-food vibe but without the stodge and fat we tend to associate with comfort food.

Steaming

Steaming is great because it softens hard-to-digest veggies like broccoli without sacrificing too much of the flavour or nutrients in the process. Steaming is also a very lean cooking technique, which makes it great for the waistline. Try pairing steamed fish like salmon (which is packed with ulcerative colitis-friendly omega-3 oils) with some steamed greens like beans, broccoli and choy sum. Add a dash of soy sauce or a pinch of coriander to really enhance the fresh flavours.

Roasting

Roasting veggies and fruits helps to break down fibre, making these foods more easily digestible. Roasted veggies make great side dishes for dinner or maybe you could try a roast vegetable salad by mixing cold roast root veggies together with your favourite salad dressing.

Roasting fruits also works wonders. Baked pears, cherries and stone fruits are not only friendlier on your digestive system, they also taste delicious!

As always, if you’re concerned about your diet and how this may be affecting your IBD, you should consult with your doctor. A referral to a dietitian can also be useful – their expertise in nutrition and formulating healthy eating plans can help you ensure you’re getting the right mix of vitamins and minerals without eating anything that will set off your IBD symptoms.