Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease in which the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed. Crohn's disease can cause a lot of pain because it affects many layers of the bowels. It can also lead to more serious complications, eventually requiring surgery or medications. In order to treat Crohn's disease, patients can eat and avoid certain foods for optimal health.
How to Eat if You Have Crohn's Disease
Before deciding what to eat, talk to your doctor or a dietitian. If you begin losing weight after making dietary changes and/or after becoming diagnosed with Crohn's disease, get in touch with a doctor or dietitian.
Eat small meals throughout the day. Try to get five or six small meals a day since smaller meals are better tolerated by your system. Also, be sure to take plenty of fluids, as they can help with digestion.
Because your ability to absorb nutrients is compromised, consider taking a multivitamin supplement to complement nutrition.
Keep a food journal to track your symptoms and determine which foods are most upsetting to your system. Avoid alcohol, caffeine or carbonation, since they can stimulate the digestive system and cause gas or diarrhoea. Eliminate any other foods that seem to make your symptoms worse. Many people with Crohn's have found beans, cabbage and broccoli, citrus fruits, spicy food and popcorn to be troubling to their systems.
Test Your Fiber Tolerance
Some high-fibre foods can make Crohn's disease symptoms worse. For that reason, cooking vegetables first helps break them down so that you can digest them much more easily. Fibre may make diarrhoea, pain and gas worse. If raw fruits and vegetables bother you, try cooking them first. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage may be especially troublesome. Nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn can also aggravate symptoms. If fibre aggravates your symptoms, reduce your intake of high-fibre fruits such as apples; instead, add canned peaches and pears, melons such as cantaloupe, watermelon or honey dew, and red or green grapes to your diet.
Eat Alternative Dairy Products
Many patients with Crohn's disease are also lactose sensitive or intolerant, which means they can't easily digest the lactose found in milk and milk products. To consume foods high in lactose, take a medication such as Lactaid that contains enzymes helpful in digesting these foods. Replace milk products with other alternative products such as rice milk, soy milk and other rice or soy products to help ease the gas, abdominal pain and diarrhoea that can result from eating dairy foods.
Eat Foods High in Antioxidants
Foods that are high in antioxidants such as colourful bell peppers and berries are beneficial to those suffering from Crohn's disease. The antioxidants in foods can help prevent further damage to the body. According to Healthcastle.com, they also have been known to repair damage inside the body caused by harmful free radicals. They also can strengthen the immune system, which is extremely beneficial if you have this disease.
Eat Low-Fat Foods
Patients with Crohn's disease often have difficulty digesting or absorbing fats normally. Because fat can pass through the intestine, it can worsen diarrhoea. Foods that are especially high in fat and therefore most likely to cause problems include cream sauces, butter, oils, margarine and fried foods.