Controlling your IBD
and Nutrition -
essential in our diet. It is high in calories (useful if your
appetite is limited), and helps us absorb essential vitamins A, D, E
and K. In addition, fat in the diet can help ‘carry’ other useful
food substances into our body, for example the anti-oxidant lycopene
found in tomatoes. Fat forms an essential part of every cell
membrane, and it is this role that influences inflammation and is of
most interest to us.
fats in our diet contain a combination of mono- and poly-unsaturated
and saturated fat. The fat which is present in the greatest quantity
defines how the fat is classified. For example, butter contains
mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats, but as most of the
fat is saturated fat, butter is classified as a saturated fat.
Mono-unsaturated fats lower cholesterol, but also help to bring
inflammation under control, an important ability when you have
active IBD. These are the best fats to include in the diet. Foods
rich in mono-unsaturated fats include: olive oil, rapeseed oil, and
foods containing these.
Polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature. There
are two main types, and although both lower blood cholesterol, they
have opposite effects on inflammation.
Omega-3 polyunsaturates lessen inflammation, so are generally beneficial in the
diet. Foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats include: oily fish,
fish liver oils, fish oils, rapeseed oil, flaxseed (linseed) oil,
evening primrose oil, starflower oil, seaweed, marine algae,
walnuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Omega-6 polyunsaturates boost inflammation, so are not that useful a dietary choice
if you have an inflammatory condition such as bowel disease or
arthritis. Foods rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats include: corn
oil, sunflower oil, soya oil, and margarines made from these.
Saturated fats not only raise blood cholesterol levels but can
worsen inflammation, so limit foods high in saturates to reduce
Foods rich in saturated fats: butter, lard, hard cheeses, hydrogenated vegetable
fats, palm oil, pastries, biscuits.
Inflammation in IBD
As described above omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and mono-unsaturated
fats have been shown to reduce background levels of inflammation.
This is the reason that these fats are promoted for general good
health as part of the Mediterranean diet.