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Should I avoid certain foods with Crohn's disease?

Whether or not you need to change your diet – and how – depends on how Crohn’s disease affects you. For example, if you have bad Crohn’s disease with a lot of inflammation, that inflammation could potentially narrow your small intestine. You wouldn’t want to be eating fresh vegetables in roughage that could potentially make your disease worse.

However, eating healthy is very important because you lose an incredible number of calories with Crohn’s disease because they are being burned up by inflammation in the gut. You’ve got to replace those calories, or you’re going to lose weight. If you are having a flare, you may need to stay on clear liquids or chew your food extremely well or ultimately go on to a bland diet.

A lot of studies have looked at diet and inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s. There’s not been any one diet in particular that seems to work better than another when it comes to disease outcome. However, there have been some interesting studies regarding diet’s effects on the germs living in your large bowel, called your gut microbiome.  Research has investigated the investigated how various diets can change this balance of bacteria, fungi and viruses naturally found in the gut.

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No specific diet treats the inflammation of Crohn’s disease, but a well-balanced nutritious diet ensures all vitamins and minerals are obtained.  However, patients with Crohn’s disease should avoid tobacco, as well as all prescription and over-the-counter medications typically used for joint inflammation and various maladies (i.e. Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.).

According to the World Gastroenterology Organization Practice Guidelines, the impact of diet on inflammatory activity in UC/CD is poorly understood. We do know that certain dietary changes may help reduce symptoms. It is recommended to decrease the amount of fiber during increased disease activity, continue dairy products unless they are not tolerated, and consider a low-residue diet to decrease the frequency of bowel movements. When obstructive symptoms occur, a liquid diet or predigested formula may help resolve any blockages.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.