Inspired Healthy Carrot Cake Recipes for People With IBD

Carrot cake is a delicious spring classic, with its moist texture, comforting spices and decadent cream cheese frosting. Even though it contains a vegetable, it’s no secret that a typical carrot cake isn’t exactly a health food. It’s usually made with a good amount of sugar, refined white flour, and a frosting loaded with butter and cream cheese. Additionally, for people with digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), these heavy ingredients can be difficult to digest, triggering gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. That said, there are plenty of healthier ways to make your carrot cake without aggravating your gut. In fact, carrots have many health benefits, from antioxidants to soluble fiber.

Health Benefits of Carrots for People With IBD

Carrots are rich in nutrients that are particularly beneficial for people with IBD, such as beta-carotene, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that our bodies convert into vitamin A, which many people with IBD are deficient in. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about a quarter of children with IBD are deficient in vitamin A, and adults with IBD are also at increased risk of being deficient in this essential nutrient. As highlighted by research published in the journal Nutritional research as of November 2021, vitamin A plays a role in immune regulation and maintaining the health of the intestinal lining, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of it.

Carrots are also an important source of soluble fiber. According to the NIH, soluble fiber helps manage symptoms by absorbing water in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby slowing intestinal motility. It also nourishes our good gut bacteria to promote a healthy gut microbiome. In fact, therapeutic diets designed to reduce gut inflammation by incorporating prebiotic-rich foods, such as the IBD Anti-Inflammatory Diet (IBD AID), encourage the consumption of carrots in all phases, even during an active flare.

Although biting into a crunchy, raw carrot may seem intimidating when you have an inflamed gut, grating and cooking carrots softens their texture, improving their digestibility. Here are five IBD-friendly carrot recipes, made with nutritious ingredients, so you can have your carrot cake and eat it too.

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