People with IBD Can Get Their Pumpkin Fix, Too – Everyday Health

Check out delicious ways to enjoy pumpkin season when you have IBD.

Few scents are more inviting than the warm aroma of a pumpkin pie baking in the oven. While that smell is amazing, pumpkin pie may be scary if you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a term for two conditions, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, that feature chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with plenty of mouthwatering pumpkin dishes you can enjoy.
“Pumpkins are wonderful if you have IBD,” says Barbara Olendzki, RD, MPH, director of the Center for Applied Nutrition at the UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. “They’re loaded with fiber so they feed your beneficial gut bacteria. Pumpkins can help with both constipation and diarrhea. And they have a soft texture, they’re easy to absorb, and to digest, which are three key things you need when you’re undergoing an IBD flare.”
The fiber content is nothing to scoff at. Just one cup of canned pumpkin packs 7.1 grams of fiber, according to the dietary guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Plus, the orange color means pumpkin is full of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important to vision, immunity, and reproductive health, according to the USDA.
And, eating canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as eating a whole one, just a lot less work.
“I advise my patients to use canned pumpkin all the time,” says Laura Manning, RD, a clinical nutritionist and an IBD specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “A lot of patients are exhausted when they have a flare, so they don’t have the energy to prepare fresh pumpkin. Canned pumpkin has nearly complete nutrition retention and is an amazing way to get in all the nutritional benefits easily.”
The warm aroma of pumpkin spices — cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice — also has anti-inflammatory benefits, says Olendzki. So, if you’re craving a pumpkin spice latte but need to avoid dairy and sugar, then adding those spices to warm almond, soy, or oat milk may satisfy your craving. For an extra boost, Suzie Finkel, RD, a dietitian and nutritionist at New York Gastroenterology Associates, suggests adding turmeric, which contains curcumin — a powerful anti-inflammatory. Research shows that curcumin reduces oxidative stress in the cells that leads to inflammation, and it stops the expression of genes that lead to some diseases.
Olendzki also cautions to watch out for pumpkin dishes thay may contain trigger foods. Take a pumpkin pie, for example, which has a wheat crust, dairy in the filling, and a lot of sugar. “Those can be difficult to digest, and the texture of wheat can aggravate inflammation while the sugar promotes inflammation and feeds adverse bacteria that crave it,” she says.
The nice thing about pumpkin is that it is extremely versatile, says Manning. It can go in soups, smoothies, muffins, porridges, and puddings. Here are a few sweet and savory IBD-friendly recipes for you get your pumpkin fix.
Serves 1
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Nutrition per serving: 410 calories, 14.1g total fat (4g saturated fat), 27g protein, 48g carbohydrates, 7.3g fiber, 29.2g sugar (4g added sugar), 90mg sodium
Serves 2
Nutrition per serving: 265 calories, 14g total fat (2.2g saturated fat), 6g protein, 36g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 15.3g sugar (0g added sugar), 426mg sodium 
Servings: 12 muffins
Nutrition per serving: 167 calories, 5g total fat (0.6g saturated fat), 2g protein, 29g carbohydrates, 3.8g fiber, 13.2g sugar (12g added sugar), 208mg sodium
Serves 4
Nutrition per serving: 194 calories, 8g total fat (1.4g saturated fat), 7g protein, 27g carbohydrates, 8.5g fiber, 11.7g sugar (0.5g added sugar), 572mg sodium
Adapted from The Salty Marshmallow's Easy Pumpkin Soup.
Serves 2
Nutrition per serving: 267 calories, 5.5g total fat (0.8g saturated fat), 13g protein, 42g carbohydrates, 7.7g fiber, 13.7g sugar (6.2g added sugar), 126mg sodium
Adapted from Wholefully's Healthy Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats.
2 servings
Nutrition per serving: 266 calories, 7g total fat (0.4g saturated fat), 12g protein, 39g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 1.6g sugar (0.1g added sugar), 352mg sodium 
Modified from Chocolate Covered Katie's Crock Pot Oatmeal.
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