Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract is known as Crohn’s disease, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms can include abdominal pain or bloating in the stomach after eating, bleeding during a bowel movement, reduced appetite, and unexplained weight loss. Ulcers may also develop in areas where the inflammation is severe. Crohn’s disease may also lead to complications like cancer, inflammation of the lower back, arthritis, and jaundice.
Although the exact cause of the disease is not known, it is believed that family history, diet, and environmental factors contribute to its risk. For effective treatment, it is important to know which part of the gastrointestinal tract is affected. Proper medication, a healthy diet, and following some dietary tips for Crohn’s disease can help alleviate the symptoms.
Listed here are some dietary changes and helpful tips for Crohn’s disease patients to manage the condition better:
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber found in oatmeal that helps in easing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. The fiber absorbs water, slows the digestion process, increases stool weight, and relieves constipation.
2. Whole grains
Rich in fiber and nutrients, whole grains help reduce the risk of Crohn’s disease. However, high-fiber foods should be avoided as they may cause inflammation in the abdomen and lead to issues with bowel movements. Some examples of high-fiber foods are whole-wheat bread and barley. One of the dietary tips for Crohn’s disease is to include foods with low-fiber content in the diet like potatoes, rice, and fortified refined grains.
3. Fruits and vegetables with low fiber content
Fruits and vegetables that are low in fiber like bananas, watermelon, bell peppers, and pumpkin help the digestion process and also help manage diarrhea. Ripe fruits and steamed or baked vegetables have low soluble fiber content and are easy to digest. An important dietary tip for Crohn’s disease is to avoid fruits like apples, cherries, broccoli, and cauliflower as they can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Protein and meat
Low-fat proteins and lean meats like eggs, fish, and white meat poultry should be included in the diet to prevent malnutrition. It is, however, recommended to avoid red meat and dark meat poultry as they contain fats and can cause inflammation and digestion problems.
Caffeinated beverages can cause diarrhea in people with Crohn’s disease, and carbonated beverages can cause bloating, so it is advisable to avoid the consumption of caffeinated or carbonated beverages. Instead, water intake should be increased as it helps alleviate the symptoms and keeps the body hydrated. Herbal tea is also a good option as it is a great source of antioxidants.
Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric contains curcumin, which helps in reducing Crohn’s disease flare-ups and also reduces the inflammation caused in the gastrointestinal tract. A regular intake of turmeric helps reduce frequent bowel movement, and it also relieves abdominal pain and cramping.