The Crohn's Diet website is a community for all sufferers of Crohn's Disease and similar ailments. Contrary to what you may find or read on the Internet, Crohn's Disease is a disease that CAN be controlled. For some it may be as simple as a change in diet, while for others it may require surgery. Nevertheless, expanding your understanding of this disease is the first step in over coming it.
Fact is there is no scientifically proven diet for inflammatory bowel disease. Most experts believe, though, that you can identify specific foods that trigger your gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly during disease flares. By avoiding your "trigger foods," you may find that your GI symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea are more manageable. At the same time, you will give your inflamed intestines time to heal. With Crohn's disease, it's important to follow a high-calorie, high-protein diet, even when you don't feel like eating.
A crohn's disease diet is NOT a diet to lose weight but rather to properly balance your food intake to utilize nutritional natural healing. To learn more about proper Crohn's Disease Diet, nutrition, and IBD, we have summarized different materials that we have found to be useful as an overall Crohn's Disease dietary guide for patients of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
The Crohn's Disease Diet Suffers Interfered Digestive Process
The greatest amount of digestion takes place just beyond the stomach, in what we consider to be the workhorse of the digestive system, the small intestine. When food is processed in the small intestine, a combination of reactions take place, bile (digestive juices) which are produced from the pancreas and the liver are mixed with the food, breaking it down into small molecules by a churning action of the muscles of the intestinal walls. Sort of like a very powerful high tech washing machine. These small molecules are absorbed through the surface of the small intestine, which then are distributed to the rest of the body through the blood stream. Item's that are not digested which are in the form of secretions and watery food residue are handed off to the colon (the large intestine). Our built in recycling system allows the colon to reabsorb much of the water, which is added to food in the small intestine. I think you can guess the next process, Yep! Undigested food residue, solids, are then passed from the large intestine as a bowel movement.
An inflamed intestine, as in the case with Crohn's Disease, is less able to fully absorb and digest the nutrients from food. Depending on how severe the small intestine has been injured by inflammation, vital nutrients as well as unabsorbed bile salts, may travel into the large intestine to a varying degree. This is why many Crohn's patients don’t have much of an appetite and are normally malnourished. To beat it down with a stick even more, when the undigested foods travel through the large intestine this causes interference with our water recycling process, described earlier, even if the colon itself is not damaged. Point blank – malnutrition and diarrhea may be the results from Crohn's Disease and the devastating effect it plays on the small intestine. More severe diarrhea occurs when the large intestine is also inflamed.
With Ulcerative Colitis, the large intestine is only inflamed resulting in proper recycling of water, which translates into severe diarrhea. The small intestine continues to function properly. See Ulcerative Colitis Diet.
Maintaining or Achieving Normal Weight
Malnutrition is very common in Crohn's. In fact, Crohn's disease patients appear to burn fat calories at a higher rate than the general population and most patients are underweight. Some experts recommend that children with IBD increase their calorie and protein intake by 150% of the daily recommended allowance for their specific ages and heights. Studies indicate that nutritional support in children is as important as medications for achieving remission. People whose weights are normal or no less than 90% of normal do not need to add extra calories.
Crohn's Disease Diet and Proteins
Proteins are very important for growth in children and for repair of cells. Diarrhea can cause protein deficiency and so IBD patients may need more protein than the general population. Patients might consider choosing fish and soy as primary protein sources. One study reported that a soy protein diet was particularly useful for patients who were intolerant to milk products. Oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, may be particularly beneficial in Crohn's disease. Other options are poultry and lean meats. Dried beans and legumes also provide protein.
Crohn's Disease Diet and Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should make up half of a patient's calories. Patients should select complex carbohydrates, which are also a good source of fiber. Fresh fruit (such as apples,grapefruit, oranges, plums, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) might actually be specifically protective for IBD. (It should noted, however that simple sugars can increase inflammation, so patients should avoid dried fruits and high-sugar fruits, such as grapes, pineapple, and watermelon.) It should be noted that high-fiber foods can cause gas, bloating, and pain, particularly in IBD patients. Eating small, frequent meals can also help.
Crohn's Disease Diet and Fluids (non-caffeinated)
Drinking plenty of water is particularly important. Caffeinated beverages should be avoided in general, although green tea has been reported to have some benefits for Crohn's.
Crohn's Disease Diet and Certain Oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are important compounds, particularly for Crohn's disease, found in fats. Sources include canola oil, soybeans, flaxseed, olive oil, and many nuts, seeds, and oily fish.
Aloe Mucilaginous Supplements
Aloe mucilaginous polysaccharide supplements, such as SEROVERA®, may help subside Crohn's inflammation and complement conventional Crohn's medications.
Over-the-counter liquid diets, such as Ensure, Sustacal, and others that meet full nutritional needs and are absorbed in the upper intestine may be helpful for some Crohn's disease patients, but no studies have determined this.
Crohn's Disease Diet and Potassium-rich Foods
Examples are potatoes, avocados, and bananas.
Low-Fiber with Low-Residue
To minimize abdominal pain and symptoms a low-fiber, low-residue Crohn's diet or a special liquid diet may be beneficial. Roughly two thirds of Crohn's Disease diet suffers develop a stricture (narrowing) of the lower small intestine. This diet reduces the amount of certain consumed foods that add residue to the stool.
Foods to Reduce While On a Crohn's Disease Diet
- Corn Hulls
- Raw Fruits
Diet adjustment are only temporary, either the inflammation that caused the narrowing responds either to beneficial microbes, medical treatment or to a corrective surgical procedure. Caution, while following this type of diet, too many food restrictions can have an adverse effect by not allowing proper nutritional balancing. It is always good sound advice to have a registered dietitian associated with IBD treatment program monitor your daily intake and schedule.
Nutrient Importance in a Crohn's Disease Diet
As mentioned earlier IBD patients, and especially Crohn's patients are in danger of becoming malnourished due to the disease being present in the small intestine. The following are several reasons to consider these findings.
- Poor digestion and malabsorption of dietary fats, carbohydrates, water, protein and a wide range minerals and vitamins.
- Especially during disease flare-ups chronic disease patients usually will increase levels of energy and caloric needs for the body. Basically your body is working overtime to counteract the disease.
- Symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, or lacking taste sensations will have an ill affect on food intake resulting in loss of appetite.
To restore the body’s health, a Crohn's Disease Diet nutritional program is imperative. Avoiding malnourishment is the key to a healthier path in any recovery for the following reasons.
- People with good nutritional status tend to have a more effective response rate to medications.
- Children and Teenagers may experience growth retardation due to lost proteins, calories, and other nutrients.
- Hormonal levels are affected due to weight loss in women. Menstrual irregularities and even cessation of menstruation may be experienced.
- More food must be taken in to compensate the loss of proteins and other nutrients; this may be difficult for individuals that experience intestinal symptoms.
Food absorption is a huge issue when it comes to patients with Crohn's Disease and a proper Crohn's Diet, especially if their disease involves the small intestine. People that have inflammation only in the large intestine most often absorb food normally. Over 40 percent of individuals diagnosed with Crohn's showed that they can eat enough food but can’t absorb food adequately, especially carbohydrates.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.
The digestive system
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, the general name for diseases that cause swelling in the intestines. Because the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to diagnose. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in the top layer of the lining of the large intestine. In Crohn’s disease, all layers of the intestine may be involved, and normal healthy bowel can be found between sections of diseased bowel.
Crohn’s disease affects men and women equally and seems to run in some families. About 20 percent of people with Crohn’s disease have a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease, most often a brother or sister and sometimes a parent or child. Crohn’s disease can occur in people of all age groups, but it is more often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30. People of Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease, and African Americans are at decreased risk for developing Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease may also be called ileitis or enteritis.
What causes Crohn’s disease?
Several theories exist about what causes Crohn’s disease, but none have been proven. The human immune system is made from cells and different proteins that protect people from infection. The most popular theory is that the body’s immune system reacts abnormally in people with Crohn’s disease, mistaking bacteria, foods, and other substances for being foreign. The immune system’s response is to attack these “invaders.” During this process, white blood cells accumulate in the lining of the intestines, producing chronic inflammation, which leads to ulcerations and bowel injury.
Scientists do not know if the abnormality in the functioning of the immune system in people with Crohn’s disease is a cause, or a result, of the disease. Research shows that the inflammation seen in the GI tract of people with Crohn’s disease involves several factors: the genes the patient has inherited, the immune system itself, and the environment. Foreign substances, also referred to as antigens, are found in the environment. One possible cause for inflammation may be the body’s reaction to these antigens, or that the antigens themselves are the cause for the inflammation. Some scientists think that a protein produced by the immune system, called anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF), may be a possible cause for the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.
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What is SEROVERA®?
SEROVERA is well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Under the direction of Dr. Ivan Danhof, Ph.D., M.D., we have isolated and processed the healing agent in Aloe Vera, allowing us to infuse the purest, most potent medicinal value into each SEROVERA® AMP 500 capsule.
- soothes and heals bowel inflammation
- detoxifies the stomach and other digestive organs
- heals intestinal wall damage through rebalancing cells and regenerating tissue
- stimulates the stomach's production of pepsin (digestion enzyme)
- strengthens immune system to restore intestinal health
- helps reduce the likeliness of future flare-ups
- helps to keep you in remission, longer