Crohn’s Disease Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

What is Chron’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition involving the small intestines and colon.  It is estimated that approximately 11 in every 100,000 people have this condition and that approximately 33,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  New cases of Crohn’s disease are most often diagnosed in the teens and early 20s or 40s and early 50s.

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding

Secondary symptoms may include fever, chills arthritis, specific rashes, and weight loss.

How is Chron’s Disease Diagnosed?

The diagnosis usually involves a combination of colonoscopy with biopsy, X-ray studies such as CT scan, and laboratory testing. However, it may be difficult to diagnose this condition.

Chron’s Disease & Diet

There are many treatments currently available. Dietary therapy may have a role in the prevention of Crohn’s disease and management of this condition.

Studies have suggested that a diet high in fiber, especially from fruits and cruciferous vegetables, may help prevent the onset of Crohn’s disease. Additionally, diets high in polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 and omega 6 fats may decrease the risk of Crohn’s disease.

Alternatively, increased intake of saturated fat from red meat may increase the risk of Crohn’s disease.

Elimination Diets & Supplements

In Crohn’s disease patients, there is no single diet that is effective for everyone.  Studies have suggested that “elimination diets”, where specific foods are removed, may have some benefit in reducing inflammation and controlling symptoms.  Studies have also shown that the use of liquid nutrition supplements, or enteral nutrition, may be as effective as steroids for achieving remission.  However, this diet may be difficult to maintain. Also, with the return to a regular diet, patients are more likely to see a flare of their disease.

The role of vitamin nutrient supplements will depend on the status of the disease.  Your physician can monitor for these nutritional deficiencies and recommend specific supplements if needed.  The use of probiotic supplements is still unproven.  Diet alone cannot replace medical therapy for the management of Crohn’s disease. Please be sure to discuss dietary recommendations with your physician or gastroenterologist.

Chron’s Disease Treatment at Florida Medical Clinic

To learn more about Dr. Heiman’s personalized approach to Chron’s Disease, request an appointment here.

Disclaimer: This post is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a licensed medical professional.

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