From gastro-esophageal reflux to ulcerative colitis and diseases such as Crohn’s disease: Inflammation of the intestine can be different, with a more or less important impact on the daily lives of those who suffer from it.

In addition to pharmacological treatment, help comes from the diet. “It is not yet clear whether it is the effect of some foods or whether it is the changes on the intestinal flora that the diet can induce, but it is known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with few carbohydrates and few fats, is associated with a type of intestinal flora less prone to inflammation than a diet with more fats,” explained Professor Silvio Danese, Head of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and coordinator of the Immunology Center in Humanitas, in an interview.


Foods to say yes to

The green light goes out to foods rich in fiber and polyphenols because they reduce inflammation and have an antioxidant effect, such as red fruits and vegetables, but also spices, turmeric, ginger and wholegrain cereals (barley, quinoa, spelt). We also recommend the use of extra virgin olive oil, which reduces the formation of pro inflammatory molecules thanks to its monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and polyphenols, but also the consumption of avocados and nuts.


Foods to pay attention to

Beware of trans fats, which “cause an increase in the level of cholesterol in the blood, especially bad LDL,” explains prof. Danese. These fats ‘are formed during the industrial processing of vegetable oils’ and can be found, for example, in packaged sweets, industrial snacks and in stock cubes.

The consumption of nightshades (such as eggplants, potatoes with peel and tomatoes) and arachidonic acid “mainly contained in meat and sausages, fish and eggs is also limited. Acid can also be synthesized from linoleic acid: so some dried fruit is fine, but you shouldn’t overdo it,” the specialist suggests.

Those who suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux should avoid garlic, onions, peppers with peel, chocolate, mint, spices, citrus fruits, tomatoes and fatty foods.