When undergoing treatment for Crohn’s disease, the right diet is one of the most important steps. This is because some foods can worsen the symptoms and for this reason they should be avoided. It is therefore necessary to consume healthy and varied options so as to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Generally, people who suffer from Crohn’s disease experience periods of intense gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, changes in taste, constipation and loss of appetite which can lead to malnutrition.
It is therefore important that the diet for people with those disease is low in foods rich in sugars and caffeine because they irritate the intestine and can increase the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
What to eat in Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a health problem that results to inflammation of the intestine, which in turn interferes with the absorption of nutrients. The degree of malabsorption depends on how much the intestine has been affected or whether a part of it has been removed before due to the disease.
Therefore, the goal of a proper diet for people with Crohn’s disease is to avoid bowel irritation and malnutrition but to promote the absorption of nutrients, relive symptoms, prevent new crises and improve the quality of life of the patient through a natural diet.
1. Food allowed
Some foods allowed in the diet are:
- Rice, purees, pasta and potatoes
- Lean meats, such as chicken meat
- Boiled egg
- Fish such as sardines, tuna or salmon
- Cooked vegetables such as carrots, asparagus and pumpkin
- Cooked and peeled fruits, such as banana and apple
- Dairy products, provided that the person is not lactose intolerant
- Avocado and olive oil
Apart from consuming these foods is is advisable to perform omega 3 supplementation which will aid in decreasing inflammation. Depending on the nutritional risk, some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folic acid, vitamin B12, iron and vitamins A, D, E and K may also be needed.
Using probiotics and glutamine may also be necessary to improve the functioning of the intestine. However, all these supplements should be prescribed by a doctor or nutritionist.
For some people, aside from having Crohn’s disease, they may also be lactose intolerant and/or gluten intolerant. In such cases, these people should avoid these foods. If they do not have these intolerances, they may consume noodles and skimmed dairy products in small portions.
2. Foods that should be avoided
Foods that should be avoided because they can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and aggravate symptoms are:
- Coffee, black tea, sodas with caffeine
- Raw vegetables and peeled fruits
- Papaya, orange and plum
- Honey, sugar, sorbitol or mannitol
- Dried fruits such as peanuts, walnuts and almonds
- Alcoholic beverages
- Pork and other fatty meats
- Buttery biscuits, sweets with puff pastry, chocolate
- Fried foods, gratins, mayonnaise, industrialized frozen meals, butters and sour cream
These are just some of the foods that can worsen the symptoms for those who have Crohn’s disease, but there may be variations from one person to the other.
For this reason, it is important to identify the foods that worsen the symptoms and communicate to the nutritionist so as to avoid new crises and nutritional deficiencies. This is because the foods that aggravate the symptoms can be exchanged and another one with the same nutritional properties taken in its place.
Menu for Crohn’s disease
The following table indicates a 3-day menu for Crohn’s disease:
|Meals||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||Scrambled egg with toast + fruit juice soured and diluted in water||Rice drink with toast + fruit juice coaded and diluted in water||Slice of bread with boiled egg + fruit juice soured and diluted in water|
|Morning snack||Baked banana with cinnamon||Baked apple without peel and with cinnamon||Pear cooked without peel and with cinnamon|
|Lunch/ Dinner||Skinned chicken breast with mashed potatoes and pumpkin cubed, with a little olive oil.||Grilled salmon with rice and carrot salad with a little olive oil.||Skinless turkey breast with pumpkin puree with boiled carrot salad and peas, with a little olive oil.|
|Afternoon snack||Gelatin||Baked banana with cinnamon||Toast with apple candy|
The diet for a patient with Crohn’s disease varies from one person to the other because sensitivity can increase at any time. Even foods that were consumed habitually may have been eliminated from feeding period so it is necessary to adjust the diet according the needs of each patient and a nutritionist should do counselling to ensure the right food intake.
Other important recommendations
People with Crohn’s disease should consume several small meals during the day and avoid staying for long without eating so that the intestine can maintain a regular activity. In addition, it is important to chew the food well so as to ease the digestive process and decrease any chances of intestinal irritation.
One should also eat in a quiet environment and avoid foods that may aggravate the symptoms as well as limit the consumption of fibre and foods that are rich in fat.
To decrease the fibre content in fruits and vegetables, one can peel, cook and make puree. The foods should be prepared with natural seasonings and should be grilled or cooked in the oven.
Crohn’s disease can cause diarrhoea and for this reason it is important to be hydrated by cosunming water, coconut water and fruit juice diluted with water and coaded.
It is also advisable to regularly consult the nutritionist as there may be need to make changes in the diet so as to avoid malnutrition and relive symptoms of the disease.