Diet and Nutrition Tips for People with Crohn's Disease
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that usually affects the lower part of the small intestine. If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, your doctor may refer you to a nutritionist to make sure that you are eating foods that will be absorbed by the body and to prevent malnutrition. Since many people who have Crohn’s disease find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight with the standard diet, they may need to take nutritional supplements and eat certain types of food to ensure they are getting the nutrients, minerals and vitamins they need for good health.
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, talk to your family physician as soon as possible. Your doctor can perform a thorough health evaluation and refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Diet Guidelines for People with Crohn’s Disease
According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, people with Crohn’s disease have very sever inflammation of the small intestine which means that most foods are not readily digested and absorbed. Nutrients and unabsorbed bile salts can escape into the large intestine, and this may lead to malnourishment, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
In order to prevent some of these symptoms, people with Crohn’s disease need to monitor their diet and avoid foods that aggravate some of the symptoms of IBD. While there is no special diet for sufferers of Crohn’s disease, there are some things the sufferer can do to prevent bloating and indigestion, and also improve the health of their digestive system.
Some of the most effective ways to reduce symptoms and prevent “flare ups” of Crohn’s disease include:
- Reducing and eliminating greasy food from the diet
- Limiting the consumption of milk and milk products
- Restricting and reducing intake of certain high-fiber foods because some of these foods can cause constipation and indigestion
- Eating smaller, easily-digestible meals every three to four hours, instead of three large meals per day
- Eating more wholesome and nutritious food at each meal
- Taking nutritional supplements to complement the diet
Some people with a severe case of Crohn’s disease may need additional nutritional support. Enteral nutrition is where the patient is fed through a tube overnight, and can then eat regular meals throughout the day.
Foods and Beverages to Avoid on the Crohn’s Disease Diet Plan
Certain foods and beverages will trigger the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and prevent absorption of nutrients. WebMD.com reports that the following foods are best avoided when you have Crohn’s disease:
- Carbonated beverages
- Fried foods
- Coffee and tea
- Foods that produce gas
- Fibrous foods
- Spicy foods
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Red meat
- Whole grains and bran
Set up a consultation with a family physician if you are experiencing severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease or abdominal discomfort after eating. Your doctor and nutritionist will be able to create a customized diet and nutrition plan that will support your digestive system and improve your health.