Dietary recommendations must be individualized in order to suit the various dietary needs of individual patients. The diet recommendation you get will depend on which part of the intestine affected. Aside from that, this disease is not static – changing over time. Your eating patterns need to reflect those changes. The vital objective in creating your own special diet is to try and achieve a well balanced diet that is healthy and nutritious.
The only way you’ll know if your diet is working is to test it rigorously. If you cut down on hard to digest carbohydrates you should see a lessening of your gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea. But be aware that the diet will only treat your symptoms; it will not cure your Crohn’s.
Foods to be avoided
There are no rules or recommendations on the food that should be avoided. Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between an allergy to a certain type of food as opposed to an intolerance for that type of food. Most people usually have food intolerances that they may think of as an allergy. An elimination test is the idea way to select the food that must be avoided or at least reduced.
There are many books available that will tell you how to conduct an elimination diet. You should also keep a food and symptom diary on your own. This will help you identify which foods cause your symptoms to get worse, and which foods you can still enjoy.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not only the amount of food that a patient takes in, but rather eating more of the right foods to promote good health. The ideal daily intake should be a combination of a variety of foods from all food groups. If you can tolerate them, it’s good to add meat, fish, poultry and dairy products for protein. Bread, cereal, starches, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrates.
Likewise, margarine and oils are sources of fat.
A big part of Crohn’s disease is diarrhea, and with it the danger of dehydration. Dehydration happens when fluid intake fails to keep up with diarrhea, and can also effect kidney functions.
Crohn’s patients often have a high incidence of kidney stones that make the Crohn’s even worse. Severe dehydration as well as salt loss creates a feeling of weakness. This is why it is so critical for Crohn’s patients to take in ample amounts of fluids especially during warm weather when the skin tends to lose a large amount of moisture and salt.
The way to prevent dehydration is to drink at least 70 ounces of liquid a day. It is also better to sip rather than gulp the liquid, since gulping tends to introduce air in the digestive system that can cause additional discomfort.
The importance of nutrition to Crohn’s patients
Crohn’s disease can leave some patients with problems in their small intestines, and can result in malnutrition. Not only the loss of appetite, but this chronic condition tends to aggravate the calorie needs of the body, especially during flare-ups. Beyond this, Crohn’s can also lead to the poor digestion and malabsorption of dietary protein, fat, carbohydrates, water and other vitamins and minerals.
Correct and proper nutrition is one way of restoring your health. That is why it is so important to work hard to keep yourself from becoming malnourished.
If you suspect you have Crohn’s disease, you should first consult your primary care physician before taking other steps. Careful diagnosis and monitoring is the key to living comfortably with Crohn’s.