Best Foods for Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease – it’s an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause abdominal pain and weight loss, and is caused by an autoimmune response in which the body attacks the otherwise healthy digestive tract.
While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s yet, there are treatments and dietary choices you can make in order to ease the symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at 14 foods that help relieve symptoms while delivering proper nutrition…
These oval wonders deliver a nutritious punch with a healthy dose of protein, and they’re also an “inexpensive source of easily digested protein,” notes Health.com.
It doesn’t matter which way you prefer your eggs – scrambled, hard-boiled or soft-cooked are all good options, it adds. You can also turn to egg noodles as an alternative.
EveryDayHealth.com touts oatmeal as a good source of soluble fiber, “which may help reduce diarrhea by absorbing water in the gut and delaying the emptying of the intestines.” It doesn’t have to be bland; there are certain herbs and spices such as cinnamon that can add flavor to oatmeal, while offering its own healing properties.
Insoluble fiber is what you want to try to avoid when you have Crohn’s, as it can irritate the intestines, it adds. This type of fiber is found in some otherwise recommended sources of nutrition including whole grains and certain vegetables, it explains.
3. Oily Fish
Healthline.com suggests fish – but not just any fish – when you’re dealing with a Crohn’s flare-up. It suggests the more “oily” variety, which includes salmon, tuna, and herring.
These types of oily fish contain Omega-3 fatty acids, “which have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the aggravation that causes the worst of your symptoms,” explains the source.
Unless you’re lactose intolerant (the symptoms of a dairy allergy can mimic a Crohn’s flare-up), cheese may be a great addition to your Crohn’s diet. Healthline.com says cheese is an ideal way to deliver calcium without drinking milk, but adds, “it’s important to know that for some people with Crohn’s, dairy products can be hard to digest.”
You can choose varieties of cheese that contain the least lactose in the cheese family, such as Swiss and cheddar, it adds. Adding cheese to a greasy meal (like a cheeseburger, for example) is not recommended as they can cause gas and diarrhea.
EveryDayHealth.com says avocados are filled with “healthy fat,” as well as B and E vitamins, along with soluble (and insoluble) fibers – “they are generally easier to digest than many other sources of fiber,” it notes.
The source recommends peeling off the skin and spreading it onto bread or crackers. Just keep in mind that whole wheat bread can actually aggravate the problem, so you may want to talk to a doctor or dietician about other healthy options.
This creamy delight comes in many flavors, and can deliver a healthy punch of calcium – which is lacking in many Crohn’s patients, says EveryDayHealth.com. The site says to reach the recommended 1,000-mg of calcium per day, you need 3 or 4-calcium rich foods per day.
Yogurt not only delivers calcium, but it also has the added benefit of containing probiotics, which can help balance your gut bacteria and “aid in recovery of the intestine,” says the source. Just keep in mind that this might not be a great choice if you’re sensitive to dairy.
7. Cooked Carrots
Healthline.com explains carrots can “be a great vegetable for getting your fill of nutrients without aggravating symptoms.” It’s also true that carrots are good for maintaining eye health, thanks to its beta-carotene content.
It says that if you’re having a Crohn’s flare-up, cook the carrots until they’re soft and tender, which makes them easier to digest while absorbing the antioxidants that may help with your symptoms.
8. Fruit Smoothies
Without needing to digest solid food and potentially taxing your sensitive digestive system, turning to smoothies may be a good option. You can choose “smooth, fleshy fruits” such as bananas or papaya that are easier on your body, suggests EveryDayHealth.com.
The source suggests adding pineapple juice to smoothies, because pineapples contain something called bromelain, “which has long been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties.” It also points to a fairly recent study that backs this claim up.
9. Smooth Nut Butters
Health.com explains that nuts on their own are an “excellent source” of many healthy components such as good fats, vitamin E, and protein. However, digesting nuts can be a big challenge for patients with Crohn’s, it adds.
Instead, consume them in their buttered form, it suggests. “Make sure to choose smooth, not chunky versions of these products,” it adds. Aside from peanut butter, you can also opt to try almond or cashew butter, suggests the source.
10. Grilled Chicken Breast
If you’re looking for a meaty source of protein that’s relatively safe for Crohn’s patients, look no further than skinless chicken, says EveryDayHealth.com – “proteins like red meat are higher in fat and more difficult to digest,” it notes.
It suggests serving about 3-ounces of grilled, skinless chicken at a time (about half of a small chicken breast), and to be wary of certain marinades that contain spices or sugars that are more difficult for Crohn’s patients to digest.
A staple of many diets, white rice is “considered an old-school remedy for those with digestive troubles,” according to American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA).
However, while white rice is easy on the stomach, it’s not the most nutritious food, adds the source. It suggests bulking up the nutrients by adding yogurt or pureed veggies for added nutritional value (and better flavor).
12. Vegetable Soup
A nice, warm bowl of vegetable soup can warm your body and your soul, and it’s a good option for Crohn’s patients, explains Health.com. The source says if you’re afraid of eating vegetables due to a flare-up, you can still enjoy pureed pumpkins, butternut squash, carrots and parsnips.
The source adds that you won’t lose nutrients from vegetables when they are pureed, as opposed to when they’re boiled. You can try making your own soup, or buy healthy vegetable soups from the supermarket.
13. Almond Milk
Cow milk doesn’t agree with a lot of patients who have Crohn’s, due to the lactose content, but luckily it’s not the only type of milk on the shelf. Almond milk is “the best alternative for those who are unable to digest dairy products,” according to the AFPA.
It adds that almond milk is rich in vitamins D and E, and contains the same amount of calcium as standard milk. Be careful not to drink almond milk that has a lot of sugar added to it, warns the source.
14. Baked Apple Dessert
The Crohn’s diet doesn’t have to be all protein and carbs. You can indulge once in a while with something a bit sweeter, such as a baked apple dessert suggested by EveryDayHealth.com.
Baked apples are delicious and easy to digest, if you remove the skins first, says the source. “Once apples are peeled, the remaining fiber is soluble so it is gentler on your digestive system,” it adds. If you don’t have the time to bake an apple dessert, you can enjoy some unsweetened applesauce, it notes.
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