Category Archives: Food

Vegetables that won’t destroy you if you have Crohn’s or Colitis (apparently)

Continuing the theme of food that won’t destroy you if you have Crohn’s or Colitis (Last week’s fruit post is here).

As before, my first port of call, and the inspiration for today’s post, was What to Eat with IBD: A Comprehensive Nutrition and Recipe Guide for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis by Tracie Dalessandro, who is not only a registered dietician with a masters of Science in nutrition, but also a Ulcerative Colitis and subsequently Crohn’s Disease sufferer. I extracted her list of ‘Vegetables that heal’ from chapter 2 below and ran then through the nurtient tool over here.

Tonight, I have just researched the following:

  • Beta-carotene / Vitamin A – improves resistance to infection, supports growth and repair of tissue; maintain health skin and mucous membranes (Need 5000IU per day)
  • Vitamin D – Needed for proper formation of the skeleton and maintaining the mineral balance in bones (Need 60oIU per day)
  • Vitamin C – Anti-oxidant, wound healing, formation of collagen and appropriate immune responses (Need 60mg per day)
  • Folate – necessary for proper cell division – especially in IBD patients (400mcg per day)

Here is the list of vegetables that heal, based on 100mg, cooked without salt, unless otherwise stated. Brocolli, Collard Greens, Arugula, Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Peppers and Sweet Potato stand out as the the superfood here, but almost all the vegetables on the list have a role in supplying a important vitamin:

  • Acorn squash Vitamin A: 817IU; Vitamin C: 11mg
  • Arugula (raw) Vitamin K: 109mcg; Vitamin C: 15mg; Folate: 97mcg
  • Asparagus Vitamin A: 1006IU; Vitamin K: 51mcg; Vitamin C: 8mg; Folate: 135mcg
  • Broccoli Vitamin A: 1548IU; Vitamin K: 141mcg; Vitamin C: 65mg; Folate: 108mcg
  • Butternut Squash Vitamin A: 11155IU; Vitamin C: 12mg; Folate: 16mcg
  • Carrots Vitamin A 17036IU;  Vitamin K: 14mcg; Vitamin C: 4mg; Folate: 14mcg
  • Cauliflower Vitamin K: 14mcg; Vitamin C: 44mg
  • Collard greens (very soft) Vitamin A: 8114IU; Vitamin K: 440mcg; Vitamin C: 18mg;Folate: 93mcg
  • Endive (raw) Vitamin A: 2167IU; Vitamin K: 231mcg; Vitamin C: 6mg; Folate: 142mcg
  • Kale (very soft) Vitamin A: 13623IU; Vitamin K: 817mcg; Vitamin C: 41mg;
  • Lettuce Vitamin A: 8711IU; Vitamin K: 103mcg; Vitamin C: 4mg; Folate: 38mcg
  • Parsnips Vitamin K: 1mcg; Vitamin C: 13mg; Folate: 58mcg
  • Peppers (red) Vitamin A: 3582IU;  Vitamin K: 5mcg; Vitamin C: 171mg; Folate: 10mcg
  • Potatoes Vitamin K: 2mcg; Vitamin C: 13mg (skin on baked, 7mg boiled, no skin); Folate: 28mcg
  • Pumpkin Vitamin A: 4992IU; Vitamin K: 1mcg; Vitamin C: 5mg; Folate: 9mcg
  • Spagetti squash Vitamin A: 5224IU; Vitamin C: 4mg; Folate: 12mcg
  • Spinach Vitamin A: 10481IU; Vitamin K: 494mcg; Vitamin C: 10mg; Folate: 146mcg
  • Sweet potato Vitamin A: 19217IU; Vitamin C: 9mg
  • Tomato (without skin) (Raw) Vitamin A: 833IU;  Vitamin K: 8mcg; Vitamin C: 13mg; Folate: 15mcg
  • Yam  Vitamin K: 2mcg; Folate: 16mcg

Plaintain and Broccoli are GOOD for people with Crohn’s Disease!

This paper from GUT, which is the British Medical Journal’s gastroenterology journal, caught my eye a few weeks ago. The title ‘Translocation of Crohn’s disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: contrasting effects of soluble plant fibres and emulsifiers’ sounds a bit dry, but if you read the paper you find out some VERY interesting information which I’ll summarise:

Learn to love broccoli

  • Plaintain and Broccoli are GOOD for people with Crohn’s Disease
  • Poly-sorbate 80 (E433) is BAD for people with Crohn’s Disease

The paper explains that Crohn’s disease is common in developed nations where the typical diet is low in fibre and high in processed food. They explain that remission can be acheived through enteric diets and they therefore propose that diet must play some part in the activity of the disease.

The researchers say “It is interesting that parts of the world such as Africa, India and Central America where plantains form an important part of the staple diet have low rates for inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. We have therefore now tested the ability of soluble plant fibres, such as those found in plantain, to block translocation of Crohn’s E coli across M-cells in vitro”.

E-coli is found in greater numbers in the intestinal tissue of Crohn’s patients. E-coli gets into the tissue through M-cells (Microfold cells), but this activity is inhibited in the presence of certain soluble plant fibres  but increased in the presence of low concentrations of an emulsifier that is commonly used in processed foods, poly-sorbate 80.

The researchers state that the “increase in the incidence of Crohn’s disease seen in recent years in Japan correlates with increased fat intake. Although the fat itself may be harmful, it is also possible that increased consumption of emulsifiers contained in processed fatty foods could be a factor”.

Emulsifiers are a permitted food additive which help keep foods together that could seperate e.g. oil and water. Although emulsifiers are probably largely broken down during the human digestive process,there has not been much investigation into their effects on intestinal permeability.

If you read this paper and decide that you would like to avoid the emulsifier mentioned in this paper here are the names it is known by:

  • Polysorbate 80
  • (Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate)
  •  (x)-sorbitan mono-9-octadecenoate poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl)
  • Alkest TW 80
  • Tween 80
  • POE (80)
  • sorbitan monooleate
  • E433

This paper does leave me with some questions:

  1. Where can I get plantains in Shrewsbury?
  2. Should I avoid E-coli pro-biotics?
  3. What other fruit and vegetables contain high amounts of soluble dietary fibre?

What am I going to do differently as a result of reading this research?

  1. Go through my kitchen cupboards and give away or throw out anything with Poly-sorbate 80 in it.
  2. Put everything with a non-distinct emulsifier ingredient in it in a pile and investigate the origin of the emulsifier
  3. Eat some plantains!
  4. Eat more broccoli!
  5. Investigate the e-coli pro biotic issue
  6. Re-double my efforts to not eat as much pre-prepared processed foods