A brand new week means we have some new science to dive into. We’ve all dealt with some type of digestive issues in the past. Whether it’s been an upset stomach after an aggressive Taco Tuesday or some heartburn after too much wine, everyone can relate. But for some people, digestive issues are more than just an inconvenience—it can actually be debilitating. So, what can you do to make sure Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) isn’t in your future? Let’s dive in.
It is no secret that we are big meat and animal product proponents here at the Daily Tonic. There is so much nutritional value packed into high quality grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised poultry and eggs, and grass fed dairy. But that doesn’t mean we ignore fruits and vegetables all together.
With that said, let’s take a quick step back and actually break down what Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is. IBD is an intestinal inflammatory disorder that impacts over 3 million Americans. The prevalence of IBD is also another one of those trends that has been moving in the wrong direction for the past few years.
There are two forms of IBD—Crohn’s Disease (CD) & Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Once diagnosed, IBD symptoms can vary widely and are impacted by gut microbiota, environment, stress, and lifestyle habits.
So what does the science say for those looking to alleviate IBD symptoms or prevent the condition altogether?
To answer that question, researches conducted a systematic review that included 11 studies and over 450,000 participants across several countries. The specific goal of these studies was to look into the association between dietary fiber, fruit, and vegetable intake with the risk of developing IBD.
The results? Researchers found a significant inverse association between all three of those factors (fiber, fruit, and veggies) and the risk of IBD. How significant was the association? Well, the group with the highest intake of vegetables actually had a 46% lower risk of IBD than the group with the lowest intake. On the fruit side, the group with the highest fruit intake had a 31% lower risk than the group with the lowest intake.
Those are pretty significant numbers.
Now of course, there are no perfect studies, and it is very possible that this research has some holes in it as well. One thing to always look out for in studies like these is a healthy user bias. Were the participants with higher vegetable and fruit intake also partaking in other healthy habits like regular exercise and better sleep? And could those factors have played a role in the decreased risk in IBD?
It is very possible.
The key takeaway? Fruit, vegetables, and dietary fiber seem to be a good way to reduce the risk of IBD symptoms. Meat and other nutrient dense animal products can and should be a staple of a healthy diet, but for a lot of people, that shouldn’t mean cutting out or significantly reducing the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Believe it or not, both of those can be a part of a healthy, whole food diet.