Many IBD patients find they cannot tolerate many vegetables. This is mainly due to the fibre content. By juicing vegetables, they may be able to benefit from the nutrients without experiencing unpleasant bowel symptoms, as a juicer separates the pulp (fibre) from the juice (which contains most of the nutrients).

However, juices should not replace regular food. Instead it should be seen as a supplement. Firstly, there is little calorific content in vegetable juice, and fruit juice is very high in sugar, neither of which is ideal for maintaining a healthy weight. Secondly, relying on juices means you are not following a balanced diet. In particular, vegetable protein is ‘incomplete’ (meaning not all of the amino acids are present), which means that a large variety and quantity of vegetables must be consumed in order to get the required amount of protein.

It is recommended that you read up about the potential effects of each juice on the bowels- some juices can cause gas, others may slow the bowels. And start slowly, introducing one new juice at a time, and in small quantities. If you do find you have an undesirable side effect from a juice, reduce or avoid that juice in future.

In particular, foods high in oxalic acid should be juiced with caution, as high concentrations of oxalic acid can have an adverse effect on gout and rheumatoid arthritis, and contribute to kidney stones. Foods high in oxalic acid should never be juiced with foods high in calcium.

An easy to read guide to juicing, including information on individual vegetables, and tips on how to get the best results: www.juicingbook.com

As always, consult your doctor or dietician before making any major changes to your diet.

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