Crohn's Disease: How Dietary Guidance Plays a Role in Finding Relief

How you eat when you have Crohn’s disease can make all the difference in how you feel. Certain foods can trigger or worsen your symptoms, which can include frequent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, low energy, and unexplained weight loss.

Crohn’s disease affects your entire gastrointestinal system from the mouth to the anus, and it can progressively worsen. That’s why the right diet that eases symptoms is so crucial.

With Crohn’s disease, your small intestine often suffers from inflammation, so you have trouble digesting and absorbing nutrients from food. As a result, Crohn’s disease can cause malnutrition if you don’t manage your diet carefully.

The goal is to make nutritional choices that support good health but prevent you from suffering. At Digestive Disorders Associates, we help you determine what that means for you.

A Crohn’s disease diet

No single diet causes or cures Crohn’s disease. In fact, people with the disorder have different triggers and aggravators. Some diets are advertised specifically for managing Crohn’s and many people have success in alleviating their symptoms -- including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea -- by following them, but research doesn’t show that these specific diets are categorically successful.

The best way to determine your dietary guidelines is by keeping a detailed food and symptom journal. You track what you eat and the effects it has on your condition. The team at Digestive Disorders Associates can help you create this journal and implement changes once you figure out your trigger foods.

General dietary advice for Crohn’s

Although triggers can vary from person to person, certain foods are poorly tolerated by many people with Crohn’s. These include dairy products, high-fat foods, high-fructose fruits, and foods high in insoluble fiber, such as nuts, leafy vegetables, seeds, and wheat bran. Alcohol, butter, carbonated beverages, chocolate, red meat, and spicy foods are other common triggers.

You may also benefit from avoiding foods reputed for their gas-producing properties, such as legumes and bran. Smaller meals can ease digestion as can adequate hydration with water.

Getting enough nutrients is key

If you have problems absorbing nutrients due to Crohn’s disease, follow a high-calorie, high-protein diet, even when your appetite isn’t high. Here at Digestive Disorders Associates, we can help you determine the types of foods to include in this plan and how to schedule eating so you have regular meals and snacks each day. The aim is for you to get ample protein, calories, and other nutrients to promote good health and give you energy. The doctors may also offer supplements and vitamins to help boost your nutritional status.

Food preparation techniques that may help

Once you’ve identified trigger foods, you may experiment with preparations that make these items more tolerable. For example, if certain raw fruits and vegetables trigger symptoms, you may find that they’re completely tolerable when cooked. Steak may be a trigger, but your digestive tract may tolerate ground beef.

Ask the doctors at Digestive Disorders Associates for recommendations about how to play with cooking techniques to vary your diet without aggravating your system.

Managing your condition is a lifelong struggle, but it’s totally doable, especially with medical support. Our team at Digestive Disorders Associates helps Crohn's sufferers in Annapolis, Maryland, live the most normal life possible. Call the office or schedule an appointment while you’re here on the website.


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