How do I Choose the Best Crohn's Disease Diet?

Erin J. Hill

The way for you to choose the best Crohn's disease diet is to discuss your options with a doctor or dietitian. There may be no particular diet plan that will work for you, as every patient may have different triggers which exacerbate symptoms. You will need to discuss a healthy eating plan and then find out which foods cause pain and which do not. This will give you a general idea of the plan you should stick with.

Crohn's disease may affect the colon.
Crohn's disease may affect the colon.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which can affect the colon and small intestine. It is caused by an autoimmune response against the digestive tract, and can cause abdominal pain, lack of nutrient absorption, and digestive upset. Patients commonly have trigger foods which set off these painful symptoms, while other foods may be digested with no problems. You will have to find your trigger foods through trial and error, although there are some foods notorious for causing symptoms.

Applesauce is often recommended for people with digestive problems.
Applesauce is often recommended for people with digestive problems.

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To determine your ideal Crohn's disease diet, you should start out by eliminating almost all foods and eating a bland diet for a few days. Choose foods that are easy to digest, such as bananas, applesauce, and rice. Then, slowly add additional healthy foods back into your diet one at a time to determine which ones cause a problem and which do not. Give each new food several hours or even a full day before adding another to make the process of elimination easier.

Drinking eight glasses of water daily aids in digestion.
Drinking eight glasses of water daily aids in digestion.

There are some foods which cause problems in a wide number of patients. Dairy, for instance, is typically very hard to digest. Beans, some spices, alcohol, caffeine, and high fiber foods may also disrupt digestion. Since fiber is important for good health, work your way up to the minimum daily serving suggestion over time or speak with your doctor about potential supplementation.

Rice, which is easily digestible, is a good food to eat during a flare-up of Crohn's disease.
Rice, which is easily digestible, is a good food to eat during a flare-up of Crohn's disease.

You should fill your Crohn's disease diet with healthy foods that are high in nutritional value. This may help offset the potential for malnutrition, which is common if inflammation occurs in the small intestine. If you find that most fruits and vegetables give you trouble, talk with a medical professional about adding medication or supplements to your diet to make sure you maintain proper nutrition. You may also find that juicing the vegetables and fruits may make them easier to digest because this will remove the fiber content.

Green tea is an anti-inflammatory beverage that has brought relief to some Crohn's disease sufferers.
Green tea is an anti-inflammatory beverage that has brought relief to some Crohn's disease sufferers.

Make sure that plenty of water is part of your Crohn's disease diet, as staying adequately hydrated is essential in maintaining proper digestion. You should also avoid beverages which may irritate the stomach or intestines, such as sodas, alcohol, and coffee. Some patients are also sensitive to acidic drinks, such as orange juice, but you can determine which juices are compatible with your diet by testing them and noting any symptoms that occur.

Crohn's disease may cause abdominal pain.
Crohn's disease may cause abdominal pain.
Crohn's disease can lead to malnutrition in a number of ways, so diet must be carefully monitored.
Crohn's disease can lead to malnutrition in a number of ways, so diet must be carefully monitored.
Doctors often recommend that people with Crohn's disease take supplements in addition to a diet change.
Doctors often recommend that people with Crohn's disease take supplements in addition to a diet change.

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