What factors add to susceptible genes to cause ulcerative colitis and other intestinal diseases?
- Unhealthy intestinal flora: overgrowth of harmful bacterial strains and yeast causes inflammation
- Foods that disrupt normal intestinal flora: refined sugar (feeds yeast); bread (contains yeast and promotes yeast); digestive enzyme deficiency or low stomach acid (undigested foods in the colon become food for unhealthy gut bacteria and yeast)
- Foods that can be allergenic to the intestinal lining: wheat protein (gluten), dairy (cow) protein, chemical food dyes, and preservatives
- Foods that irritate the intestinal lining: excessive alcohol and caffeine; spicy hot foods
- Foods low in fiber: fiber ferments to produce the short-chain fatty acids acetate, propionate, and butyrate that help heal the intestinal mucosa
- Foods that are inflammatory in all body cells: refined sugar foods, carbonated soda drinks, trans-fats, and hydrogenated oils, and foods causing an allergy
- Lack of abundant micronutrients in the bloodstream: Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and plant-derived chemicals.
Now for some science on how fiber heals.
A high amount of dietary fiber normalizes your blood sugar, reduces your body fat, significantly reduces heart disease, is vital for intestinal health, and can even heal intestinal diseases.
Let’s now look at the mechanism of action behind fiber’s healing effects. In one study, pectin, a soluble dietary fiber, was studied in rats and found to heal the intestinal lining directly. Plus, it generates short-chain fatty acids as significant metabolites of dietary fiber. These short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate and acetate, are well-proven to have a potent anti-inflammatory effect on intestinal diseases. Butyrate or acetate enemas, plus high-fiber foods and supplements, help decrease inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis.
Yet, researchers are still discovering more about how fiber does so many great things for health. Fiber is the perfect food for healthy bacteria to feed on (fermentation), which generates gut-healing short-chain fatty acids called butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
And when the gut heals, there are immune system benefits. The decreased antigenic load along the intestinal lining cells lowers autoimmune and chronic inflammation.
There is more.
In a mouse study, researchers found that fiber and acetate supplementation decreased gut dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria) but also significantly reduced blood pressure, cardiac fibrosis, left (heart) ventricular hypertrophy, and markedly reduced kidney disease (renal fibrosis).
It was found the high fiber generated short-chain fatty acids,
which caused molecular changes that improved cardiovascular and kidney function.
A Diet for Colitis
Patients with unresolved ulcerative colitis must learn the principles of nutrient-dense whole foods. Colitis patients already have decreased absorption due to gut inflammation there. Therefore, they need optimal nutrition that can be absorbed quickly and does not further irritate (by physical contact) or inflame (immunologically) the tissue.
For example, a smoothie containing fresh apples, strawberries, spinach, rice milk, flax oil, soluble fiber, and ice is nutrient-dense, healing irritated mucosa.
A simple dietary change suppresses the cause of many autoimmune disorders. Increasing good bacteria in your gut can lead to autoimmunity. One of the best ways to increase good bacteria in the gut is to increase your fiber. A high-fiber diet can stop the spread of harmful bacteria in the gut that leads to autoimmunity against diseases like MS, Hashimoto’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Luckily for people with autoimmune problems, getting more fiber is easy. Foods that are high in fiber include:
- Pears – 7 grams in one large pear
- Raspberries – 8 grams in one cup
- Avocado – 5 grams in a ½ medium avocado
- Black beans – 7.5 grams in ½ cup cooked black beans
- Almonds – 3.5 grams in one ounce
Easy ways to boost your fiber intake are:
- Add chia seeds and almonds, to yogurt for a healthy breakfast parfait.
- Snack on baby carrots and fresh broccoli with ranch dressing.
- Toss kidney beans into your salad.
- Add soluble fiber
- Add grains like quinoa, amaranth, and bulgur to your dinner.
- Substitute hummus for mayo on your sandwich.
- Skip the potatoes at dinner and instead make pureed cauliflower.
Autoimmune disease is one of the most challenging problems to overcome, but with a simple change in diet, there’s now hope.
To learn more about how adding fiber to your diet can lower your risk of colitis and help develop autoimmunity against autoimmune diseases, call Doctor’s Nutrition at 1-800-824-0194.
For a great fiber source, take a look at Doctor’s Nutrition Clearly Fiber is different from other fiber products: no grit, lumps, or flavor. It dissolves clearly in any cold or hot drink. It won’t change your favorite soft food or beverage’s texture, taste, or color. Add Clearly Fiber to water, coffee, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, pudding, mashed potatoes, juice, and even sauces or soups. The possibilities are endless. Clearly Fiber is an excellent source of fiber and a natural way to support proper bowel function, cholesterol levels, and healthy intestinal microflora.