FOOD AND CROHN'S DISEASE
Adequate food for Crohn's disease
Non-adequate food for Crohn's disease
DIET FOR CROHN'S DISEASE
Recommended food for crohn's disease
Intestinal malabsorption of those who have Crohn's disease typically causes deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. A proper diet will help remedy these shortcomings.
In addition to malnutrition, problems may occur, such as thickening of the bowels, making it more difficult to digest and leads, besides the consequent colics, to the loss of appetite.
In general, the patient should be directed by a dietitian who must maintain strict control of these food that can be tolerated by the patient. Each new food should be introduced in small quantities to see if it is accepted. Those foods which are not well tolerated must be excluded and replaced by others that are accepted. As a rule, when it is not very clear whether a food is recommended, it is best to take it in small quantities to see if it is well tolerated.
Among the most recommended foods, we can mention the following:
- Fruits and vegetables: In general, these foods are suitable because they can help to replace the deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Between vitamins that are often lacking we find vitamin C, vitamin K and many vitamins of the B complex.
As far as minerals, we have to emphasize that patients with Crohn's disease usually have very low levels of potassium, due to the frequent evacuations, and of iron, because they badly absorb it. A proper diet can help to restore the levels of this mineral.
Among all the fruits that are better tolerated we can point out: apples, pears and bananas. Other fruits, like melons, figs, apricots or cherries are often poorly tolerated. As for vegetables, stewed or boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes are the ones showing better tolerance, while chips, onions, cabbages, brussels sprouts , cauliflowers, peppers or radishes are those that are tolerated worse.
Warning: The consumption of fruit should be moderate because the intake of foods high in sugar may worsen the disease
- Dried fruits and nuts can provide much calcium, a mineral that the patients with Crohn's disease absorb very badly. However, many patients tolerate poorly these foods and therefore each one should be tested individually if any of them makes the patient feel bad. Peanuts, for example, are often poorly tolerated.
- Milk and its derivatives are a good source of calcium. However, most patients can not tolerate whole milk and derivatives made with whole milk (cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, etc). Skimmed milk and skimmed milk derivatives may or may not be tolerated so they should be tested previously. An alternative to milk that is generally accepted by these patients is soymilk or the derivatives of soybean like soy cheese (tofu)
- Eggs: They are interesting because they contain vitamin D, although patients should test the tolerance to them. Fried eggs should be avoided and eggs in an omelette, scrambled or boiled must be tested.
- Blue fish: It is rich in essential fatty acids Omega-3 that play an anti-inflammatory role well suited for the treatment of this disease. Within this group we would have tuna, mackerel or sardines. Cod is also a kind of oily fish, although it is not always tolerated and a small amount should be tested before eating it normally. Seafood can be well-accepted by some patients and poorly by others.
- Cereals: They provide lifted amounts of folic acid, although whole grain cereals can produce inflammation, reason why the personal tolerance will have to be investigated. White rice and pasta made with non whole grain wheat are very well accepted.
Foods that should not be eaten
- Legumes: They contain too high amounts of insoluble fiber, reason why they will normally produce adverse reactions, especially during the attacks. Foods like peas, chick-peas or beans will have to be eaten with extreme prudence and always after having tested their tolerance in each patient.
- Greasy meats: They produce inflammation and mucus in the intestine of these patients. Meats that contain fats like duck, pig, or lamb meat, will have to be avoided. Also bacon, sausages, mortadella, salami, etc. Lean beef or skinless chicken can be eaten roasted, but they are inadequate when fried. These meats are adequate to supply the deficiency of vitamin B12. Individual tolerance to ham should be tested, both cured and regular ham.
- Spirits: Spirits and other stimulating drinks like coffee or cacao should be avoided. Red wine or beer are sometimes tolerated and individual tolerance to these beverages should be tested. Besides water, patients can drink apple juice.
- Sweets: Sweets products rich in whole milk derivatives (pasta with cream, ice cream, high-fat sweets, cakes, pastries, etc.) should not be included in the diet of these patients. You can use sugar or honey to sweeten food.
- Bran: Bran cereal worsens the symptoms of this disease.
Tips for the attacks
During attacks of Crohn's disease the presence of strong stomach pains, with colics and diarrhea, makes it very difficult to eat properly. It is important at this stage, to consider the following tips:
- Eat light foods: During these attacks it is important to eat light foods in small amounts. Among the most suitable ones, we can mention boiled carrots and apples.
- Eat low-fat and low-fiber food
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.