As with so many diseases and disorders, many people think that the right diet can fix everything when it comes to Crohn’s disease. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, “Patients often believe that their disease is caused by, and can be cured by diet. Unfortunately, that seems to be too simplistic an approach.” However, that is not to say that the proper diet can’t help manage symptoms or that extra care shouldn’t be taken to eat a well-rounded diet specifically tailored to your needs. In fact, one of the primary complications of Crohn’s disease is malnutrition, so many doctors will prescribe specific dietary guidelines to ensure your best possible overall health.
Diet choices to avoid. In general, someone with Crohn’s disease should limit or avoid food and beverage that will irritate the throat, stomach or intestinal lining. The most common of these foods include very spicy food, alcohol or food high in caffeine. People with Crohn’s disease should also avoid very salty or fatty foods, as these may make diarrhea and other common symptoms worse. Your doctor may also suggest selectively adding or eliminating certain foods from your diet in order to determine whether that food item may be a culprit in some of your symptoms. This will generally start with common allergy foods such as wheat, nuts and soybeans.
Supplements. For mild cases of Crohn’s disease, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter dietary supplements such as a regular multi-vitamin and possibly additional iron, calcium or certain B-vitamin supplements that can help offset your body’s decreased ability to absorb the nutrients. In severe cases, intravenous injections of the liquid form of these nutrients may be necessary.
Important diet considerations. Your body needs a well-rounded diet to function properly, and this point becomes even more critical when a disease is present. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of fluids. Bear in mind that your body will be going through a lot of fluids and electrolytes if you have diarrhea or if you vomit frequently. Fiber and whole grains can also be very beneficial in helping eliminate diarrhea, though be careful with the grains until you know if any will cause an undesirable reaction.