Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease that affects nearly 700,000 Americans. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the lining of your digestive tract. Symptoms include abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue and malnutrition. Inflammation can spread deep into the affected bowel tissue, and the disease can be very painful and even debilitating. However, those who suffer from symptoms of the disease can find relief in an individually tailored Crohn’s diet.
Certain foods can trigger symptoms in individuals with Crohn’s disease. By experimenting with your daily diet, you will discover what foods set off symptoms, so there is not one diet guideline available that will help everyone suffering from Crohn’s disease. However, there are clear guidelines and a foundation from which you can create a diet that best meets your health needs.
An effective Crohn’s diet focuses on eating small but frequent meals throughout the day to ensure you receive necessary calories, vitamins, protein and nutrients. The following are foods to avoid while on a Crohn’s diet: carbonated beverages; caffeine; greasy, fried and processed foods; gas-producing foods like lentils, beans and broccoli; and spicy and/or highly seasoned foods.
Look for foods that contain soluble rather than insoluble fiber. Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber, which may help reduce diarrhea by absorbing water in the gut while delaying bowel movements. Insoluble fiber, however, can cause irritation within the intestine and is harder to digest because it passes more quickly through your body. Whole grains, wheat bran and vegetables like green beans, bell peppers and cauliflower are higher in insoluble fiber and so should be limited, especially during a symptom flare up.
Salmon, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can help to reduce inflammation. Mashed potatoes (remove the skin), avocados, eggs and grilled chicken breasts are all beneficial foods for someone on a Crohn’s diet.
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