Crohn’s disease is one of the most embarrassing and difficult digestive disorders to suffer from, and experiencing a Crohn’s flare can be one of the most embarrassing and painful situations to deal with. Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, also known as IBD. Crohn’s disease was discovered, or recognized, by Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who began finding patients who suffered the same chronic inflammatory condition in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, Crohn’s disease was officially the diagnosis for anyone with extreme, or chronic, inflammation of the GI tract. A Crohn’s flare is simply anytime the GI tract becomes inflamed from the disease, causing pain, inflammation and several GI disturbances, including diarrhea, gas, pain, bloating, constipation and even bleeding. Crohn’s mostly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon, though it can actually cause any part of the GI tract to suffer damage from inflammation. It has no known cause, yet does have promising treatment options, including diet management. To learn which foods to eat when you’re suffering a Crohn’s flare, check out these suggestions below and avoid the others listed with these items.
If you tolerate dairy at all, one of the best foods to eat for a Crohn’s flare is nonfat, plain yogurt. The probiotics help aid digestion and the calcium is wonderful to reduce stress in the body, especially the GI tract. The potassium in yogurt can also restore essential electrolytes to the body that may be lost through diarrhea, along with fight stress and inflammation. Plain, nonfat yogurt, especially Greek, is also high in protein, which is important to eat to maintain muscle mass and it helps increase satiety in the body. However, if you suffer lactose intolerance, yogurt may make things worse, so always pay attention to how you react to yogurt. Choose your dairy sources smart and avoid cheese and milk if you have Crohn’s, since these can exacerbate symptoms, not help them.
Fish high in healthy fats, like salmon, are wonderful for Crohn’s patients to eat during a flare. The omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation in the GI tract, and have been proven to be very beneficial to intestinal disorders of many kinds. Fish is also seamless to digest, so it’s much easier to process than meats of any kind are. Definitely avoid red meat at all costs if you suffer from Crohn’s, since it is the hardest animal protein for your body to digest.
3. Winter Vegetables
Winter veggies like pumpkin, cooked carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are all wonderful to eat during a Crohn’s flare. They’re high in soluble fiber, potassium and will not cause gas and bloating like broccoli, beans, cauliflower and legumes will. Eat more of these and leafy greens instead of gas producing veggies if you have a flare, and most of the time anyway to avoid pain and bloating from gas. Anytime you eat veggies, be sure to cook them very well, as it reduces pain, bloating and gas by breaking down fibers.
4. Bananas, Papaya and Berries
Most people who have Crohn's tolerate bananas, papaya and berries quite well. Some people are extremely sensitive to fruit and might not be able to tolerate even these GI friendly foods, but if you can eat these fruits, they are great for Crohn’s flare ups. Both are rich in soluble fiber and potassium, which are two of the best nutrients to eat for a flare up. Avoid apples and pears, which are known to cause gas and bloating very quickly.
Many people don’t tolerate gluten at all if they have Crohn’s, but oatmeal is a wonderful choice for Crohn’s flare ups if you tolerate grains. Some people find even oats won’t work, but for the most part, oats are a top choice to eat when you’re having a Crohn’s flare. They’re incredibly high in soluble fiber, easy on the GI tract and as long as you avoid the instant varieties that have sugar, they’re aslo a wonderful healthy food to eat anyway.
6. More Liquid Meals
If you enjoy smoothies and pureed soups, now’s the time to have them! So long as they have ingredients that don’t cause symptoms for you, like high fiber ingredients, most smoothies made with yogurt, a few berries and maybe some spinach and almond milk with protein powder would work well, as would soups pureed with cooked vegetables. Liquid meals can be much easier on the GI tract and can help reduce pain, bloating and indigestion from whole meals during a flare.
7. Brown Rice
Most people are told to eat white rice during Crohn’s flare, and while it is easy to digest, it’s void of nutritional nutrients. Yet, a person with Crohn’s is very sensitive to high fiber grains, with the exception of oats most of the time, making many sources of grains a poor choice. Brown rice, though it is whole grain, is actually very low in fiber, but high in nutrients and easy to digest, which is why I suggest it. If you tolerate wild rice, that’s an even healthier choice since it has many more antioxidants and benefits than brown rice does.
Most people find that eating the right supportive diet for Crohn’s can usually keep symptoms at bay, though stress does exacerbate symptoms due to nerves in the GI tract that become inflamed from stress. This makes stress management in a patient’s lifestyle just as important as diet choices, along with moderate, regular exercise, which helps control stress and inflammation in the body. If you have Crohn’s, what foods are best for you during a flare?