Processed foods and additives can take a toll on your gut health

There has been a spurt in the number of people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The reasons attributed to this surge is the consumption of preservatives, additives, and highly processed foods say doctors

Unable to pass stool? Do not ignore as it may not be constipation

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract.
  • Many diseases are included in this IBD umbrella term. The two most common diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • The reasons attributed to this surge is the consumption of preservatives, additives, and highly processed foods
  • Symptoms are: Diarrhoea, fever and fatigue, abdominal pain and cramping, loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.

The chemicals in the processed foods and additives can cause IBD, said doctors. Dr Gautam Bhansali, consulting general physician at Bombay Hospital said, “Generally, people in the age group of 40 suffer from it. But today, it is commonly seen in the school and college going students. Especially college students, as they tend to consume a lot of junk food and there is a lack of fibre intake. Lack of fibre food can invite constipation. Thus, they can suffer from IBD.”

He added, “A lot of youngsters visit me with this problem. There has been a 30 to 40% rise in the number of people suffering from IBD. So, follow a healthy and nutritious diet and eat high-fibre foods .”

Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said “IBD can lead to number of complications including damage to the bowel and malnutrition. To avoid IBD, people must opt for natural organic foods which are a healthier choice. This will also help in avoiding complications in the intestine. Making better food choices will ensure that the gut has a combination of different good bacteria which help the body systems function smoothly.”

Dr Ankita Ghag, Clinical Nutritionist, Vacchan Aarogya and Diabetes Care 365, lists out the foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods and consuming large meals
  • Dairy products: Individuals with IBD are more prone to Lactose intolerance. On ingestion of Milk, cream or ice cream one can get diarrhoea, cramping and constipation. Yogurt and cheese are comparatively safe to be consumed. Instead, one can use soy, almond or groundnut milk
  • Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, onions and beans
  • Spicy, and fatty foods
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes
  • Bread, cereal, and wheat products
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee