In short, no food cannot cure inflammatory bowel disease but I stand by the notion that it can help relieve some of the symptoms of it.
I can’t tell you the amount of times someone said “have you tried this”/”should you be eating that?”/”why don’t you cut out…” and every time I’d roll my eyes because I know what causes me to flare and if I eat that food then it means that I am willing to pay the consequences for the next few days. Deal with it.
However, when I was flaring for no reason in particular, I started googling anti-inflammatory foods and when I saw there were whole diets out there, I started integrating certain foods into my diet. Some of the foods I introduced quite heavily into my diet were:
- More salmon (I already ate it but I made sure I had it at least once a week
- Spinach (for iron and anti anti inflammatory, I always cooked it quite well though so it didn’t make me flare worse)
- Peppers (cooked because raw veg made me flare worse)
- Probiotic yoghurts
- Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey was such a life saver for me! The few months before I had surgery I was really struggling to keep my inflammation under control, with a top does of mesalazine and high doses of oral steroids and all these changes to my diet (which is why I’m pretty certain food can’t cure IBD!), however my IBD nurse told me about manuka honey and after having it in my yoghurt for two days, my symptoms relieved a tiny bit which was a miracle! I genuinely think this helped me get through the last few weeks of uni! It can be quite expensive but I found it relatively cheap in Aldi (about £4.99 I think) but it might be worth giving it a try.
I also completely cut out caffeine, something that I did pretty much as soon as I was diagnosed because for some reason it made me feel worse and apparently it can cause inflammation to worsen. When I was flaring, I often cut down on my sugar intake too (which was really hard!) because refined sugar can make inflammation worse (it’s always the good stuff which does, isn’t it!)
So, in short, no you can’t cure IBD with diet changes alone because, at the end of the day it’s a chronic illness which has no cure. But, you never know, these little changes might help. I really recommend googling anti-inflammatory foods and try some out. And, if you know someone with IBD, don’t get on at them for eating certain foods or sometimes eating them and sometimes not because we know are own bodies and which foods are worth being ill for!
Let me know in the comments any foods you might’ve found helpful with inflammation and whether or not you think you can “cure” IBD with food.
*Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional in any way and these are just things which worked and didn’t work for me