Common Diet Recommendations for Those Living with Crohn’s Disease

Common Diet Recommendations for Those Living with Crohn’s Disease

A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease requires some adjustments to your diet and lifestyle to reduce flare-ups. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, or looking for ways to better manage this inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), working closely with a digestive specialist is invaluable. 

Gastroenterologist Vikram Jayanty, MD specializes in diagnosing and managing a full range of issues that affect the digestive system, including mild and complex cases of Crohn’s disease. Not only does Crohn’s disease cause uncomfortable symptoms, but it can also lead to malnutrition, making it crucial to learn about trigger foods you should avoid. 

Once your diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Jayanty will provide counseling on your diet. While there’s no cure for Crohn’s, diet and lifestyle modifications play a major role in managing symptoms and reducing the impact of Crohn’s on your daily life. 

Crohn’s disease overview

If you’re newly diagnosed, you may have questions about how you came to have Crohn’s disease and how it affects your digestive system. Crohn’s disease is a bowel disease that causes long-term gastrointestinal tract inflammation. 

The inflammation may spread to deep layers of the gut, and it may affect different parts of the digestive tract in different individuals. Crohn's disease is often painful and debilitating, and can sometimes result in serious complications.

Foods to avoid

For individualized dietary recommendations to manage your symptoms, it’s crucial to schedule a visit with Dr. Jayanty. There isn’t one special diet for all patients with Crohn’s. However, there are certain foods and food groups that tend to aggravate symptoms. 

Additionally, some patients have individual food triggers unique to them. The following is general information on foods to avoid to improve your symptoms. It’s vital to pay attention to what you’re eating during a flare.

When you’re actively having symptoms, these red flag foods may make your symptoms worse. 

Whole grains

If you have IBD, consuming a lot of fiber can worsen symptoms. Fruit and vegetable skins, seeds, dark leafy vegetables, and whole-wheat foods contain insoluble fiber, which passes through the digestive tract intact and may cause stomach pain and diarrhea. Steer clear of whole grains, beans, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables. 

Dairy

You should limit or entirely avoid dairy if you have Crohn’s disease. Lactose, or milk sugar, can cause gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Additionally, high-fat foods are more difficult to digest.

If you must have dairy, choose low-fat dairy foods, limit your intake, and use enzyme products like lactase (Lactaid) or lactose-free products to help with digestion.

High FODMAP fruits and vegetables

Many patients with Crohn’s disease find that a low FODMAP diet improves symptoms. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These types of sugars are well known for triggering digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and stomach pain in certain individuals. 

Some high FODMAP fruits and vegetables to avoid include:

You can greatly reduce the FODMAPs in apples by removing the skin.

Nuts and seeds

Not only are nuts and seeds rich in fiber, but they can be difficult to digest for people with Crohn’s disease. The sharp edges of nuts and seeds can irritate the lining of the digestive tract. Some patients with Crohn’s can tolerate ground nuts and seeds. 

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to your diet, we can help. We recommend starting slowly. Reducing fiber and FODMAP intake when you have symptoms is a good first step for getting your symptoms under control.

For more information and help managing your symptoms, call our Houston office to schedule a visit with Dr. Jayanty, or book your request online today. We look forward to helping you feel better!

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