The answer is: “yes”. For some people with IBS, Crohn’s, and colitis, raw vegetables can trigger unwanted reactions. Here’s a step-by-step explanation:
- Raw vegetables contain insoluble fiber.
- Fiber can be hard to digest for people with IBS/ IBD.
- When fiber isn’t digested properly, that can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Gas and bloating are painful, and diarrhea can cause dehydration, weakness, and loss of vital vitamins & minerals. At its most severe, this can be life-threatening.
It may seem extreme, but I’ve seen quite a few cases where patients had to be hospitalized as a result of these symptoms. Those lucky enough to avoid hospitalization were simply in acute pain while dealing with what was going on inside of them. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but these are things we have to watch out for when dealing with digestive disorders.
With flare-ups, the intestines are inflamed, so they are extremely sensitive to roughage. During this sensitive time, fiber can irritate the intestinal lining, causing all the symptoms mentioned above.
During remission, some people can tolerate raw vegetables, and some people can’t. Everybody is biologically different – finding your triggers is often a process of trial-and-error. Keep a food journal to track your trigger foods. Here are some more tips on how to make vegetables work for you:
- Cook vegetables to break down some of the fiber and make them more digestible.
- Avoid gas-producing foods (like beans, onions, and garlic).
- During flare-ups, avoid foods high in insoluble fiber (like celery, corn, and peppers).
- During flare-ups, avoid sulfur-containing cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower).
- During flare-ups, you can eat small amounts of cooked vegetables – just run them through the blender until smooth (use cooked skinless zucchini, carrots, and squash).
So save yourself a lot of trouble, and leave us a comment before embarking on a new diet. We’ve got research galore, professional and personal experience, and we’ll always try to protect you from that innocent-looking celery stick.