The role of diet is very important in Crohn's disease and should be considered as an important add-on treatment to medical therapies. Although there is no direct evidence that Crohn's disease is caused by dietary factors, the food you eat can considerably affect the symptoms of the condition.
So what are the general dietary guidelines for Crohn's disease?
Generally, the patient is advised to eat a well-balanced diet, with adequate protein and calories. Diet may have to be restricted based on symptoms or complications.
General guidelines are - Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids to offset losses from diarrhea, if necessary take vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements (before that consult with your doctor), limit high-fiber foods (whole grains, raw vegetables and fruits, beans and nuts), avoid specific foods that seem to make symptoms worse and limit dairy products.
Dietary guidelines for Crohn's disease vary depending on the severity of the disease, location of the inflammation, and symptoms. As crohns disease is characterized by inflammation along the digestive tract it is often difficult for the body to absorb enough of the essential nutrients that it needs to function well. In addition, people with Crohn's disease often experience a decrease in appetite. Poor nutrition may also make it more difficult to recover from flares of the disease.
During an acute phase of crohns disease, bulky foods, milk and milk products may increase diarrhea and cramping. Crohn's Disease patients should avoid the following foods and liquids:
Dairy foods, high fiber foods, hot spicy foods, alcohol & caffeine, foods containing saturated fats, found in meat and dairy products (some fats such as in fish oil may be helpful), products containing corn or gluten, those made from wheat, oats, barley, or triticale, foods such as soy, eggs, peanuts, tomatoes, gas-producing foods likw cabbage family vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts), dried peas and lentils, onions and chives, peppers and carbonated drinks, simple sugars, dried fruits and high-sugar fruits, such as grapes, watermelon, or pineapple.
Because Crohn's Disease affects the area of the intestines where a lot of the absorbtion of nutrients takes place, taking supplements is usually advised. The greatest amount of digestion takes place just beyond the stomach, in what we consider to be the workhorse of the digestive system, the small intestine. An inflamed intestine as in the case with Crohn's Disease is not able to fully absorb and digest the nutrients from food. As a result Crohn's Disease sufferers are often unable to properly digest and absorb carbohydrates, fats, proteins as well as many vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, there is no single effective Crohn's disease diet that will reduce symptoms for all patients. A Chron's disease diet may vary from individual to individual and may need to be changed, depending on symptoms or complications.
Most dietitians with experience of Crohn's disease will simply recommend a healthy balanced diet free of any foods that aggravate the symptoms. Choosing a proper diet for Chron's disease is important. The identification of trigger foods and the introduction of foods that help ease the symptoms is a slow but essential part of overcoming Chron's disease.