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These Drinks Can Lead To Serious Inflammation, New Study Says

Scientists have found a powerful connection between diet and inflammatory bowel diseases.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

Many people who have suffered with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, know that's it's often tough to anticipate when an attack will strike. However, here's news that could help: New research out of the Netherlands points to three main diet choices that may be worth avoiding in order to help prevent flare-ups.

People dealing with inflammatory bowel diseases, or even abdominal discomfort in general, may benefit from the findings of the study, which was conducted by a team of scientists in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Groningen and its medical center in the Netherlands. The scientists assessed the diets of 1,425 individuals who fit into one of four diagnostic groups: the general public, a group of patients with irritable bowel disease, a group with ulcerative colitis, and another with Crohn's disease—all three illnesses that affect the large intestine.

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Looking at the diet patterns of these individuals, the researchers found that "processed foods and animal-derived foods were consistently associated with higher abundances" of the microbial clusters that cause inflammation in the gut's microbiome. The researchers concluded: "Avoiding strong alcoholic drinks, processed high-fat meat, and soft drinks have a potential to prevent intestinal inflammatory processes via the gut microbiome."

In other words, alcohol and sugar-filled drinks, like soda, were linked to changes in the gut that are characteristic of inflammation—the same inflammation that leads to abdominal issues and diseases. By keeping these foods out of your diet, you may be able to reduce your gut inflammation.

It's also worth mentioning the study's converse findings, which identified the foods that seem to reverse gut inflammation. "The opposite was found for plant foods and fish, which were positively associated with short-chain fatty acid-producing commensals and pathways of nutrient metabolism," the researchers wrote.

Meaning: If you suffer from any kind of inflammatory bowel disease, adding more vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, fish, and other plant-based foods can help regulate your gut microbiome and potentially prevent inflammation.

That said, this is not the first recent study that points to the health benefits of a plant-rich diet—read how adding more plants to your diet could also help protect you from COVID-19.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more