Lots of people with IBD are afraid to eat fruits and vegetables. Perhaps you suspect they worsen your symptoms. Maybe your doctor told you to avoid them. Whatever the reason, you’re probably itching to add them back to your diet.
Not sure how to go about challenging fruits and vegetables?
Start with these Fruits and Vegetables
We recommend that you begin with soft fruits and veggies that are less apt to cause gas and bloating.
Soft fruits and veggies are low roughage. Roughage includes thick skins of fruits and vegetables, vegetable stalks (e.g. broccoli stalks), nuts, seeds and popcorn. Thanks to its coarse nature, roughage is the fiber most apt to worsen GI symptoms.
But even some low-roughage fruits and vegetables can lead to gas, bloating, and abdominal cramping for reasons other than fiber. For example, watermelon is so soft that it melts in your mouth. However, it can lead to diarrhea and gas in people with IBD who also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Instead, choose low gas-producing, low-roughage fruits and veggies. A few wins under your belt will encourage you to keep going.
We want to help you get these wins. That’s why we created this list of low gas-producing, soft fruits and vegetables that are less likely to cause GI upset.
As for how to introduce them….
5 Tips for Challenging a New Fruit or Vegetable
- Add just one fruit or vegetable at a time. Adding more than one food per sitting increases your risk of feeling unwell and will make it more difficult to determine the offending food.
- Start with a small amount. One-quarter cup is a good starting point for fruits and vegetables.
- If the fruit or vegetable has a peel, then peel it. If it has a stalk, then remove it (e.g. broccoli, asparagus). If it can be cooked then cook it. Cooked and peeled foods are easier for the gut to break down. Want to be even more cautious? Puree it into a soup or a smoothie.
- Chew your food very well and eat slowly. This applies to all foods all the time. Chewing kicks off digestion.
- Choose a comfortable setting to reintroduce foods. Food isn’t the only cause of GI symptoms. Stress ranks right up there with what you eat. Consider your eating environment. Make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed. Take a few deep breaths before your first bite and as you need to throughout your meal.
Here’s a list of the best fruits and vegetables to challenge with IBD. Download it here!