Published: 06/24/2015 - Updated: 04/03/2016
Inflammatory intestinal diseases, like colitis and Crohn’s disease, can affect life quality and they can even affect your work performance, among other life aspects.
Fortunately, there are several alternative treatments that, alongside lifestyle changes, can positively influence the amount of control you have over these diseases.
Inflammatory intestinal diseases can be affected by eating certain foods. Even though certain foods haven’t been proven to cause the disease, we do know that these choices can affect the symptoms, making them worse when active. That’s why we advise avoiding these foods whenever you’re having a flare up, which is to say, whenever you have diarrhea, pain, constipation, abdominal swelling, etc.
1. Foods rich in fat: Whenever your intestines are inflamed, you need to remember that fat can be hard to digest. If you have diarrhea, consuming fatty foods could make it worse. Avoid fried foods, packaged foods, excessive oil, butter, cream sauces, etc. Opt for lean meats and cooking methods that don’t require a lot of fat.
2. Moderate fiber consumption: A diet with a healthy amount of fiber is highly recommendable for intestinal health. If you are experiencing symptoms of intestinal inflammation, however, like diarrhea and constipation especially, we recommend limiting your fiber consumption. Avoid excessive amounts of fruits and vegetables, and opt for preferably cooked foods. A few unadvisable foods include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, etc., which are considered to be flatulents.
3. Dairy: Dairy is often times left undigested during a bout of colitis, which is why we recommend avoiding it. You could replace it with plant-based milks that are much more tolerable. Yogurt and cheese can be consumed in small amounts, due to their probiotic properties.
4. Unadvisable substances: caffeine, alcohol, and capsaicin (spice) should also be avoided whenever you’re experiencing symptoms, as they could worsen the situation.
It is also important that you keep your dietary habits in mind, as lavish meals could make you feel worse. We advise distributing your food intake into 5 small meals, so that you are eating smaller protions. Generally the 3 main meals include breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with 2 snacks in between; which are lighter meals.
Remember that hydration is also important. Try to drink enough fresh water. You can sometimes include natural fruit juices, but try to avoid carbonated beverages, coffee or tea, and alcoholic drinks.
Alternative Therapies and Natural Remedies
It’s hard to fight an inflammatory intestinal disease, especially when the symptoms are so active so prolonged periods of time, and appear in recurrent episodes. Fortunately there are alternative therapies and natural remedies that can provide relief to these symptoms, and slow their appearance.
5. Aloe vera: this plant has several healthy properties, and it can also be useful in reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. We recommend consuming aloe vera gel, so long as it does not contain aloin. This compound has laxative properties which could aggravate diarrhea.
6. Probiotics: These supplements or foods provide beneficial bacteria for the body. It is believed that by striking a balance in the body, these symptoms and crises associated with inflammatory intestinal diseases can be prevented, making probiotics useful when consumed alongside some other treatment.
7. Turmeric: This spice has a unique flavor, famous in curries. But in addition to its culinary uses, turmeric also has interesting anti-inflammatory properties, according to different studies. These studies have also shown that curcumin, a compound in turmeric, can be useful for reducing inflammation in those suffering from ulcerative colitis. More evidence is necessary, however, to know just how effective this is.
8. Acupuncture: This alternative therapy consists of applying thin needles in certain areas identified as acupuncture points with the intent of creating a therapeutic effect. It is believed to alleviate stress and to improve digestion, which means it will improve the symptoms associated with inflammatory intestinal diseases.
9. Omega-3: Their anti-inflammatory properties are very useful for diseases involving inflammatory processes. In this case, it is quite possible that it can help improve this condition.
10. Boswellia: This has been the object of several studies regarding colitis and other inflammatory diseases, because this plant seems to be beneficial and effective in alleviating symptoms thanks to its ability to reduce inflammatory processes. Currently, you can find products on the market that include this extract.
11. And reduce Stress
Stress has been shown to be not necessarily the cause of inflammatory intestinal diseases, but definitely a spark that leads to pain and associated symptoms. That’s why we recommend trying to reduce your stress with therapies, or practicing breathing exercises, yoga, walking in open air, anti-stress massages, etc.