Patients frequently wonder whether their dietary pattern influences the course of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Many patients even avoid certain foods that aggravate their symptoms. Although interest in nutritional interventions is rising among physicians, the current application of nutritional interventions in the IBD population is limited due to the lack of scientific evidence from clinical trials. Several studies, however, have identified associations between diet, gut microbiota, intestinal epithelial integrity, and mucosal immune responses. In patients consuming predominantly a Western diet high in n-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), sugars, and meat, and low in fruits and vegetables, an impaired gut epithelial barrier and disturbances in the intestinal microbiota have been observed, resulting in a chronic mucosal inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet may restore this disbalance. In this review, we discuss the effects of diet on the composition of the microbiota, the gut epithelial barrier function, and the mucosal immune system.
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