Crohns Disease Diet
by Max Bellamy
Diet plays a very important role in the treatment and management of Crohn's disease, which is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. Symptoms of the disease include very frequent bouts of diarrhea and low appetite, resulting in poor nutrition, which must be corrected with a proper diet.
Since Crohn's disease affects the intestines, adequate nutrients may not be absorbed. To combat malnutrition, patients must eat a balanced diet with enough protein and calories, in addition to vitamins and mineral supplements, especially iron, as prescribed by the physician. Some patients are advised an elemental liquid diet that is easy to absorb.
Proteins recommended for patients of Crohn's disease include oily fish like salmon and tuna, soy, poultry, lean meats, dried beans and legumes. Half the daily calorie-intake should come from complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, soybeans, flaxseed, olive oil, and nuts are also beneficial, as are potassium-rich foods. Patients are advised to drink a lot of water and other non-caffeinated beverages.
While there is no indication that some foods can harm the bowel, some may enhance symptoms of diarrhea and abdominal pain during the active stage of Crohn's disease. Foods that patients should avoid include saturated fats, dairy products (except natural yogurt), fruits with high sugar content, foods like alcohol or caffeine that cause inflammation, foods known to cause allergies, foods that might irritate the intestines, and foods containing corn or gluten.
No particular diet has proved to work better than others in the treatment of the disease, and patients have been known to react differently to various substances. While some cannot tolerate milk or milk products, others find alcohol can aggravate their symptoms. By and large, patients must aim at a balanced diet, chew food properly, eat more fruits and vegetables, and a lot of high-fiber foods unless there are obstructions in the intestine.
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