Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive system that affects certain parts of the gastrointestinal tract from our mouth to the anus. The disease is symptomized by severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abnormal weight loss. It may even cause complications other than the gastrointestinal tract such as inflammation of the eyes, skin rashes, and arthritis. If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease, also known as IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), you can highly benefit from a diet chart for Crohn’s disease, which suggests eating certain foods and watching out for some.

If you are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you would probably need to find out the foods that trigger the symptoms, especially when the disease flared up. Knowing the foods and learning to avoid them will allow you to better self-manage the disease, reduce any gastrointestinal symptoms, and promote healing.

What is Crohn’s disease diet?

Importance of diet and nutrition is very critical with Crohn’s disease. A Crohn’s disease diet is an integral part of the treatment of the disease in addition to medical therapies. The choices of foods that you make, can affect the symptoms of CD.

With Crohn’s disease, you get inflammation along your digestive tract, and it becomes difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients from the foods you eat for the body to function well.

A Crohn’s disease diet varies from one individual to another, depending on the symptoms of the disease and its complications. Also popularly known as the IBD diet, eating and avoiding certain foods can help with flare-ups.

Crohn’s disease foods to eat list:

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables, as we all know have numerous health benefits, but, because of their high soluble fiber content, some of them may also cause problems. It is how you eat them, for example, by baking or steaming them, making them more easily digestible. Fruits and vegetables that you can eat are:

Peeled cucumber, well-cooked or steamed vegetables, bell peppers, applesauce, cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin, and bananas.

Proteins

Proteins
Proteins

For Crohn’s disease sufferers, the selection of protein sources should be based on their fat contents. It is always better to opt for protein sources that are low in fat.

Eggs, fish, peanut butter, white meats, poultry, and tofu and soy products.

Dairy and dairy products

Dairy and Dairy Products
Dairy and Dairy Products

This depends upon your adaptability to milk and milk products. Where some people have no issues having a glass or two of milk, some may not tolerate it at all. If you have problems tolerating dairy and dairy products, try a dairy alternative like:

Dairy substitutes for milk, yogurt, and cheese are made from soy, coconut, flax, almonds, and hemp, and low-fat fermented milk such as yogurt and kefir.

Grains

Grains
Grains

It is believed that a high-fiber diet helps in reducing the risk of developing IBD and its symptoms. But if you have been diagnosed with IBD, fibrous foods may create problems for you. It is therefore often recommended for people with Crohn’s disease to opt for a low-fiber diet. Grains that you can eat:

Oatmeal, rice, pasta, cornmeal, polenta, potatoes, and gluten-free bread.

Crohn’s disease diet plan

Experts suggest that depending on the foods patients can identify foods that trigger their gastrointestinal symptoms, mainly when the disease flares up. Just by avoiding the foods that trigger the symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea, you can manage the disease better, and you also give your inflamed intestine the time it needs to heal.

If the problem is with the absorption of the nutrients, it is important that you follow a diet high in calories, and high in protein.

Here are some of the best foods to eat and avoid with Crohn’s disease:

  • Refined grains: Refined grains pass easily through the digestive tract as they have less fermentable fibers than whole grains. They also are easy on your gut and produce fewer chances of inflammation. Try these:

White rice, white bread, plain crackers, pasta, waffles, pancakes, and rice cakes.

            Try fortified grains with added vitamins, iron, thiamine, and folate for all the essential

The body needs.

  • Eat low-fiber foods: Fruits like bananas, honeydew melon, peaches, and watermelon are easy on your digestive system, and also help in controlling diarrhea.
  • Oatmeal: Quick or rolled oats are just like refined grains that are easy on the digestive system and also contain insoluble fibers. Try to make a smoothie from oats with low-fiber fruits as breaking them down in a blender makes digestion easy.
  • Peeled and cooked vegetables: Like fruits, vegetables are high in fiber, but peeling them removed the layer of soluble fibers. Cooking vegetables also makes them easy to digest, as cooking reduces the fiber content.
  • Eat lean meats and oily fishes: Try the skinless chicken and trim the visible fats before cooking. Oily fishes contain omega-3 and other healthy fats. These help in reducing inflammation and also is good for the heart.
  • Try eggs, soy, and tofu: All these are rich sources of proteins and are laced with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, that help in managing the symptoms of IBD better. Also, eggs have vitamin D, and people with IBD are often detected with vitamin D deficiency.
  • Vegetable and fruit juices: Vegetable and fruit juices are high in nutrients like vitamins and minerals and are also low in fiber. Drinking vegetable and fruit juices help in nutrient intake and also vitamin C in fruit and vegetable juices help better absorption of iron in the gut.
  • Yogurt: Yoghurt is a must in any inflammatory bowel disease diet, as it contains probiotics – helps in reducing gut inflammation. Also, dairy products are rich in calcium and fortified with vitamins D and C. Opt for lactose-free dairy.

Foods to avoid with Crohn’s disease

Certain foods can be harder on the body during flare-ups. As mentioned earlier, if the problem is with the absorption of nutrients, you should opt for foods that are high in calories, and high in protein.

Foods to avoid with Crohn’s disease are:

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a must in any diet, so why avoid them? Raw fruits and vegetables contain a lot of insoluble fiber which may cause problems with stomach pains and other digestive issues.

You may not have to eliminate fruits and vegetables but certain fruits and vegetables can be exceptionally hard on your digestive tract like:

Peaches, plums, cherries, apples with skin, cauliflowers, cabbage, broccoli, and artichokes.

Protein sources

Meats that have high-fat contents should be strictly avoided like:

Red meats, dark meat poultry, and sausages.

Dairy and dairy products

Butter, cream, full-fat dairy, and margarine can increase the chances of diarrhea and abdominal pain. These products contain lactose, a type of sugar, and also are high in fat contents and hence should be avoided.

Spices

Spices act as irritants and can worsen the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. As a general guideline, you should avoid anything spicy. Spices to avoid are:

Cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili and chili powder, jalapenos, garlic, onions, and paprika.

However, you can have turmeric, ginger, cumin, fresh herbs, and mustard.

Crohn’s is a multifactorial and complex disease and diet plays a crucial role in the overall management of Crohn’s disease. managing the symptoms and staying healthy and free of Crohn’s complexes, you will also require supporting medical treatments, and not just diet alone. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and do the necessary follow-ups.

Follow these basic dietary guidelines:

  1. Always eat a well-balanced diet.
  2. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids.
  3. For vitamins, minerals, and supplements, always consult your doctor.
  4. Limit the intake of high-fiber foods like raw vegetables, whole grains, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  5. Avoid any food that worsens the symptoms.
  6. Limit the intake of dairy and dairy products.

Frequently Ask Questions

1. What is Crohn’s disease diet?

A Crohn’s disease diet is a diet that makes the symptoms of the disease such as gas, bloating, abdominal pains, cramping, and diarrhea much more manageable, especially during flare-ups. More to it, the diet gives your inflamed intestines more time to heal themselves. Though there is no specific diet for inflammatory bowel disease, some of you through the diet can identify certain foods that trigger your gastrointestinal symptoms.

However, some of the common foods that should be avoided in this type of diet are:

Fatty foods (butter, margarine, mayonnaise), alcohol, tea and coffee, dairy and dairy products, foods high in fiber, fatty foods, nuts and seeds, spicy foods, whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, and red meats.

2. How to heal Crohn’s disease with diet?

While no diet can completely cure Crohn’s disease, eating certain and avoiding some may help with better management of the symptoms and the disease. Diet is an important factor in the overall management of the disease.

It is very important to understand that, it is not just what you eat, but also the way you cook and process your foods. Fried and fatty foods are the most dangerous as they cause flare-ups, so always opt for baked or boiled instead. Crohn’s is a condition where digestion of fats becomes very difficult, and eating them can worsen your symptoms including diarrhea.