People who suffer from Crohn’s disease can have a difficult time getting the proper nutrition. When you have Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you can’t always get all of the nutrients you need from your diet.
Due mostly to the inability of your inflamed digestive tract to fully digest and absorb nutrients from the food you eat, Crohn’s sufferers are at increased risk for malnutrition and a deficiency in necessary vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, many Crohn’s patients have a hard time finding foods they enjoy, that nourish them, and satisfy their hunger, while not having a detrimental effect like causing diarrhea and other discomfort.
Unfortunately, much about dealing with your Crohn’s disease is individual. What causes one person with Crohn’s to develop symptoms may not cause gas, bloating, discomfort, and diarrhea in another.
You can always say yes to some foods
Take heart, Crohn’s sufferers! While there’s no cut-and-dried diet to live by, there are some tips and food recommendations that may diminish your symptoms, and even aid in preventing flare-ups of your IBD. These foods digest easily, lessening or preventing pain that can come from bowel activity.
Also, these foods are jam-packed with the vitamins and minerals, amino acids and essential nutrients your body needs.
- Rice, rice pasta
- Oatmeal, cornmeal, polenta, grits
- Applesauce, bananas
- Peeled fruits and vegetables
- Well-cooked vegetables
- Mild peppers, like bell peppers
- Fish, shellfish, white meat poultry
- Soy products like tofu, soy yogurt, soy cheese
- Peanut butter
- Plant milk
- Fermented dairy such as yogurt, or kefir
- Decaf coffee and tea
- Turmeric, ginger, mustard, fresh herbs
- Spring onions
Trigger foods you should avoid
Some foods, no matter when you eat them, can bring out the worst of your Crohn’s symptoms, or set you on a path to painful flare-ups. Not everyone shares the same trigger foods, but most Crohn’s patients find that these foods will cause some degree of discomfort.
Stay away from foods that are high in fat, including fried foods and greasy foods. A baked or boiled potato is not the same as french fries, home fries, or hash browns to the Crohn’s sufferer. Maintain a low-fat diet, and watch out for hidden fats in foods, especially processed, or convenience foods. Read labels.
Many of those who suffer from Crohn’s learn of their disease because of a suspected lactose intolerance. Dairy can easily cause your IBD to flare up.
Highly seasoned and spicy foods
Although this isn’t true for all who suffer from Crohn’s, spicy and highly seasoned foods can irritate the digestive tract and cause your disease to flare up.
While doctors encourage most people to include plenty of high-fiber foods in their diet, the Crohn’s sufferer should limit fiber intake to refined breads and pastas, low-fiber cereals, and fruits and vegetables that are easy to digest. This is especially true during a Crohn’s flare up.
Foods high in gluten
It’s not uncommon for someone with Crohn’s disease to also have celiac disease. In fact, a higher-than-average number of individuals do suffer from both.
Nuts and seeds
Because foods such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and other nuts, along with seeds, are difficult for your body to break down, they can irritate the digestive tract and cause symptoms in people with Crohn’s.
Nutrition is key
Eat whole foods and minimally processed foods, which give you the most nutritional “bang for your buck.” When you’re going through a flare-up, adhere to these dietary guidelines so you can diminish your symptoms.
Keep your nutritional needs at the forefront, and build your meals around those anti-inflammatory foods that you find tolerable. If your Crohn’s flare-up is particularly severe, you may need to receive nutrition via a nasogastric tube so that you don’t suffer malnutrition.
Manage Crohn’s for your health
Your Crohn’s disease is much more than an upset tummy. Managing Crohn’s disease is necessary for your health. If you have Crohn’s, or any type of IBD, contact the caring and compassionate team at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists. We have two offices to serve you, in Aiea and Honolulu, Hawaii. Don’t let Crohn’s control your life.