Eating with Crohn’s disease is no picnic. But, the foods you eat may impact your symptoms.
Gas and diarrhea are common symptoms experienced by people during a Crohn’s disease flare. Eating certain foods impacts how severely you experience the various symptoms. But, food triggers can be different for every person.
Crohn’s disease interferes with your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients after eating foods. Because of this, it can be difficult get the proper nutrients from your diet. It is important to work with your doctor and/or nutritionist to evaluate the foods you are eating to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
Common diet changes – eating with Crohn’s
- Avoid carbonated drinks, like soda
- No eating popcorn, vegetable skins, nuts, or other high-fiber foods
- Note: Dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible part of food derived from plants.
- Drinking more liquids, like water
- Eating smaller meals more often – for example, 5 meals every 2 hours
- Eating a lactose-free diet
- Note: lactose is disaccharide sugar made up of galactose and glucose — and is found in milk
- Tracking your food with a food diary
Dietary supplements and Crohn’s disease
Dietary supplements are a great way to get nutrients that are missing from your diet as a result of modifying eating habits to fit your Crohn’s disease. Common supplements recommended by doctors are:
- Steroids for Crohn’s can weaken bones and make it harder to digest calcium. Up to half of people are living with thinning bones.
- Vitamin D
- Helps the body absorb calcium.
- Vitamin B-12
- Following surgery of the lower intestine, your body may not absorb Vitamin B-12 well enough. A supplement ensures you get enough of the nutrient.
- Folic Acid
- Crohn’s drugs methotrexate and sulfasalazine lower the levels of folic acid in your body.
- Can help if you have anemia (your body is low on red blood cells)
- Vitamins A, E, and K
- Help your body absorb fats
Probiotics and Crohn’s disease
Probiotics are “good bacteria.” They may help with digestion, and may help decrease symptoms like bloating and gas. Be sure to work with your doctor to find probiotics that work for you.