Crohn's disease (also called inflammatory bowel disease) is a disease that affects the intestines. It causes massive problems with the digestive system, including bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. It has also been known to cause skin rashes, arthritis and inflammation of the eyes (in rare cases). Eating a balanced and proper diet will help prevent this condition from worsening.
Keeping your body well hydrated is important when suffering from Crohn's disease. A person suffering from Crohn's disease loses a lot of liquid daily due to the diarrhea caused by this condition. She will also lose water if she is vomiting. To avoid dehyrdration, drink at least eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of fluid every day. Water should be your main fluid, but healthy beverages like orange juice can be ingested in small doses. Avoid caffeine or alcohol---these can actually cause dehydration.
Fiber is one of the most important substances for the digestive system. It helps slow the digestive process, which allows the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently. This can help minimize bowel inflammation flare-ups. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, figs and oranges are especially high in fiber. Vegetables like beets, beet greens, bok choy, carrots, corn, celery and green beans are very high in fiber. Grains that are high in fiber include bran cereal, whole-wheat bread, oats, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice. Nuts that are high in fiber include almonds, cashews, flax seeds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts.
Fiber should be avoided, however, during a flare-up to give the bowels a rest.
Avoid eating large meals if you suffer from Crohn's disease. Large meals take more time to digest and work the digestive system harder, which can cause a flare-up. Try eating five or six small meals a day. This will not only help prevent strain and potential flare-ups---it's also a more efficient way to get your nutrients. The human body is not meant to eat three large meals a day---it's simply a tradition that is simpler for people to follow (as opposed to five or six small meals a day). The body needs its nutrition spread throughout the day to avoid blood-sugar crashes and binging. Small meals throughout the day will help you avoid potentially bad food choices by keeping your body fully energized for the whole day.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid any foods with citric acid---these can cause flare-ups. You should also avoid gas-producing high-fiber foods such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, dried peas, lentils, onions, chives and peppers. Stay away from lactose-heavy foods, which have a tendency to cause bloating and flare-ups when eaten in excess.
Also avoid foods that are high in fat. It's important for everybody to avoid high-fat foods, but it's especially true for people who suffer from Crohn's disease. Fat causes diarrhea and gas and can stimulate a bad flare-up. Premade or manufactured food should be avoided as much as possible, as it contains chemicals and additives that sometimes cause flare-ups.
Avoid foods that have been problematic for you in the past. Make a food diary to pinpoint the foods that cause flare-ups and foods that don't. It may be necessary to take supplements if you're forced to avoid too many foods. Talk to your dietician before making any dietary adjustments.