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How these high fiber foods could naturally stop Crohn's flare-ups

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
These food fibers could naturally stop Crohn's flare-ups

It's been a few years since researchers published findings that eating broccoli and plantains could be good medicine for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. But how many doctors have recommended the food as a dietary approach to quell symptoms of irritable bowel disease (IBD)? Much has been published about the role of diet for treating IBD, but sometimes the important of eating specific foods gets lost in the shuffle, so to speak.

What does fiber do for the gut to help IBD?

Fiber is suggested as an important dietary intervention for anyone dealing with Crohn's disease. Not only does fiber add bulk to the diet to help keep stool (bowel movements) formed, but it also can prevent constipation.

But as anyone with Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) knows, not all fiber is created equal. Sometimes fiber causes pain, bloating and is just intolerable.

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Researchers published findings in the British Medical Journal in 2010 that fiber in broccoli and plantains can stop relapses of Crohn's disease. The fibers halt translocation of gut bacteria known as E. coli that typically invades cells in the intestines to lead to Crohn's disease symptoms.

When they tested apples and leeks, the fibers had no impact on the bacteria, which helps explain why not all fibrous foods are beneficial for people suffering from IBD.

The research was performed in the lab on cell cultures and the amount of broccoli and plantain fiber used was 5 mg/ml. The food stopped translocation of E. coli by 45 to 82 percent.

The researchers then confirmed their findings by taking tissue samples from patients undergoing surgery for other disorders of the intestines.

Another interesting finding from the study was that the emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80 increased the movement of E.coli into cells. The authors suggested many enteral nutritional products that are liquid and consumed either by mouth or given through a tube contain the emulsifiers which could explain why only some people with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis respond to liquid feedings.

Plantain and broccoli could be a helpful addition for treating Crohn's disease, based on the study finding. The authors of the investigation hope to develop other food based therapies for helping people diagnosed with IBD.



I have broccoli with my main meal, usually, 3 times per week. However it would be helpful if researchers gave some indication of how much is need to provide the benefits they claim. Not as 5mg/ml but grams per serving and how often.
Alan, I agree, but since this was just a preliminary finding to look at how the fibers work, there should be more to come. I think truly that it might be different for everyone anyway, given the differences in Crohn's disease and colitis. In other words, everyone absorbs food differently, for instance. So, it may boil down to they could give a range, but paying attention to your own response would be the best way to gauge what dietary interventions work best for you - which is really what everyone with Crohn's has to do anyone, as you know. But Alan, do you notice that it helps you? Thank you so much.
WTH, what are you talking about? This is about whole food or perhaps a whole food supplement that has nothing to do with the FDA. What do you want shut down exactly? Research? The government?
The results from 2010 were E. coli in a test tube. There is no clinical proof whatsoever that broccoli and plantain "could naturlaly stop Crohn's." There are no human studies. There is, in fact, little data to suggest it is enteroadherent E. coli that causes Crohn's disease in the first place. If it were known with any certainty, we'd be a lot further along with this disease. Please stop promulgating the idea that broccoli and plantain can shut down Crohn's disease. There is no data to support this assertion other than one small study. In test tubes. On bacteria that may have nothing to do with Crohn's. Fiber is contraindicated for most Crohnies anyway.
IBD is Inflammatory Bowel Disease not Irritable... If your going to talk about Crohns and UC at least do not out them in a catagory of IBS. Two completely different things and IBS is belly pains people actually lose organs to IBD.
"The researchers then confirmed their findings by taking tissue samples from patients undergoing surgery for other disorders of the intestines' Fiber is not contraindicated for people with Crohn's disease at all, but maybe for some. And if it does bother you it's important to start slowly. Fruits for instance have a protective effect on the intestines. I am also not "promulgating" the idea that it can shut down Crohn's disease. What was seen by the researchers suggests it might. Many other people may want to use the information to their advantage. Also, there is a lot of literature - and I do mean a lot - showing bacteria has everything to do with Crohn's disease inflammation. Sorry for the typo re: syndrome vs disease. It has been corrected. Thank you for pointing that out.
Yes, QueenGothel, I saw the error that was just a typo and I have corrected it. Thank you!
Wow Kathy -- rant much?
Yep. I try to be thorough. :) Troll much?
I have had terrible bouts of IBD and gas where I was just stuck at home for various reasons which nobody probably wants to hear about. I went to a naturopath and treated myself for candida which really helped me, and I actually feel quite normal. I still watch what I eat all the time, and am always careful with what I put in my body, but I can go on my day to day life without any troubles or worries. I think the most important thing is finding the right diet that works for you. If you cannot find your ideal diet, then nothing else you do will work. You're going to have to eat a lot of home cooked meals, ones that are organic, healthy, that you cook yourself, or eat raw. I try to get all my foods from a local CSA including the meats. This step is super important. I make sure to get as many probiotics as possible. I recommend Kefir and probiotic supplements. My naturopath gave me probacto probiotics which she swears by, and works wonders for you, but you can probably find one which works well for you. I would also take a good multivitamin, I've been using Alive and they work well. The last thing is to stay positive, healthy, and really do not let stress take over your life. No matter how healthy you eat, or what you do, if you are stressed out, not getting enough sleep, etc. you will not be as healthy as you should be.
CJ hit the nail directly on the head.
I just want to say again - if you read- the study wasn't only in test tubes. Also, just to help others who are more open to possibilities - Some people with Crohn's get symptomatic relief from nausea, pain and bloating when they eat broccoli. It would be a shame to drive anyone away form a potentially helpful intervention. Such negativity saddens me and doesn't help people. We can certainly look to anything that could help and not cause harm, can we not?
Mona, sounds to me like you are being treated for irritable bowel syndrome, not inflammatory bowel disease (specifically Crohns and colitis). These two conditions are VERY different. IBD is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself. IBS is an irritation to the lining of the digestive tract. IBD can't be controlled by diet. Think of it this way, IBD controls what we can eat, what we eat doesn't control IBD. I'm glad you are finding relief, sincerely I am, Mona
I can NOT eat broccoli. It tears me up. Yes, it has fiber and regardless whether that may or may not halt e-coli translocation (Bacterial translocation is the migration of bacteria or bacterial products from the intestinal lumen to mesenteric lymph nodes) which in turn, this article supposes causes crohns (I think this article is confused by portraying that the e-coli infecting the mesenteric lymph nodes are what cause a crohn's flare, but lets just roll with their hot topic terms.....) , as a person with IBD, diet is dictated by the crohn's flare and what I can eat to avoid pain an diarrhea. So I could be open minded and TRY to eat broccoli often, but then someone would have to pay my hospital bills for me when I go in to have my ravaged innards removed. I can guarantee you that my GI has NEVER recommended that I eat broccoli. In fact, it is on my list of FOOD TO AVOID while in a flare.
No doubt - everyone is different for sure. You should not eat broccoli.