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Inflammatory bowel disease health center

Diet for crohns disease

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Crohn's disease is a major type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation in several parts of the digestive tract. Although, it can happen anywhere from mouth to the anus, several studies have confirmed that it's mostly common in the ileum (end part of small intestine) and colon (the large intestine). By inflaming the small intestine, Crohn's disease limits the ability of the digestive system to absorb essential nutrients vital for the body's growth. This leads to undernourishment, poor nutrient intake, diarrhea and lack of vital vitamins (B12, iron etc.,) in the body. Genetics, bacterial infection and poor immune system are generally cited to be the possible causes of this disease. However, conclusive studies by medical experts have stated that there is no particular cause for the occurrence of this disease. The causes may vary significantly among different people.


Nutrition and Diet for Crohn's Disease

There are several FDA approved medications recommended by doctors for relief from pain in this disease. However, lifestyle changes and diet, particularly, play a major role in reducing the intensity of symptoms in this condition. Since Crohn's disease inflames the digestive tract responsible for absorption and intake of food, it becomes important to have a diet plan. Identifying which food you can eat and which you should avoid, can go a long way in improving your digestive health.


Foods to avoid in case of crohns disease

There is no scientifically or clinically approved diet plan for treating this disease. Most of the medical experts recommend patients to understand their body's reaction to certain food items and then make their own diet plan. Based on the recommendations of medical experts, nutritionists and your own reaction to the foods you consume, you should chalk out a well-balanced diet plan. Here we give you a list of foods that should be generally avoided in this medical condition. This is just an indicative list and you've to identify for yourself, the various food items that trigger the signs of Crohn's disease in your body. 

  • Fatty foods especially fast and fried foods must be avoided.

  • Foods very high in fibrous content (raw vegetables, wheat barn and grain etc.,).

  • Spicy foods are a complete no as they irritate digestive tract walls faster.

  • Red meat and pork must be avoided.

  • Gas-inducing foods like beans, legumes and onions are also generally not recommended.

  • Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa products, dairy products (for patients suffering from lactose intolerance problems), mayonnaise, margarine and oils

  • Aerated or soft drinks and all kinds of alcohol intake, if any, must be stopped for faster intestinal healing.


Highly Recommended Foods for crohns disease

Following is the list of food items that are recommended for this painful medical condition. 

  • Rice is popular among patients in a variety of intestinal infections.

  • Bananas and yoghurt are known for their good tolerance in the stomach and so if you don't have lactose intolerance, you can relish them.

  • Soy products are also known to be digestion-friendly food products, widely popular among Crohn's patients.

  • While red meat may not be digestible for some, lean boiled chicken meat with rice can prove to be helpful.

  • Plain Pizza (a surprising entrant in the list!), high in protein is often recommended for people suffering from Crohn's disease, if they're not lactose intolerant.


Important Tips to Remember in Creating Diet Plans and Treating Crohn's Disease

Let's have a look at some of the vital points you must not forget while creating diet plans for this inflammatory medical condition. 

  • While planning your diet, do understand your body's reaction to the food consumed but don't ignore recommendations of your nutritionist or medical expert.

  • Some food that are to be avoided can be consumed by cooking them in a different way. For instance, if some green vegetables aggravate signs of Crohn's, you can boil them or stew them before consuming. Altering the cooking method often reduces the possibility of any trigger.

  • Avoid stress during treatment process. Keeping a positive attitude lifts up the spirit and healing is faster.

  • Check what food is best for you by trying it in little quantities, initially

  • Even if you don't feel like eating due to the disease, you should try to have light meals as per your diet plan. This maintains the flow of key nutrients in the body.

  • Make it a habit to keep a diet diary so that you can make a note of the food items that suit your digestive system or those that trigger signs of Crohn's disease. Doing so will help you to create a menu for yourself and will be beneficial in the long-term treatment.

  • Ask your doctor regarding some vitamins or nutrient supplements that you can take to compensate for the lack of vitamins in the body.

  • Avoid smoking or alcohol consumption as it interferes with the treatment process.

  • Sipping plenty of water gradually on a daily basis works immensely in improving the health. 

By following the aforementioned tips and staying in touch with your nutritionist or doctor, it is possible to heal the intestines. Crohn's disease is incurable but by effective planning, you can live a healthier life, reducing the flare-ups to minimum. Stay healthy!

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: October 15, 2012

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