The inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) known as Crohn’s can cause severe symptoms and health concerns, including diarrhea and malnutrition. Though there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, altering your diet is one of the best ways to reduce the unruly symptoms of the condition.
Not all foods will affect sufferers of Crohn’s the same way. While spicy foods may not be a problem for some people with Crohn’s, others will be less able to handle the heat. However, there are several foods that all sufferers of the disease may want to steer clear of—especially during a symptom flare-up.
Here are several foods to avoid if you suffer from Crohn’s disease.
Fruits and Veggies with Skin
The skins of certain raw fruits have been known to cause major digestive distress for people with Crohn’s. This same notion applies to vegetables with edible peels like cucumbers. If you have Crohn’s disease, minimize discomfort from eating raw fruits and vegetables by peeling off the skin before taking a bite. For many sufferers of Crohn’s, canned or cooked fruits and vegetables are often the smarter choice.
The consistency of rough, hard-to-digest foods such as raw nuts can cause severe irritation for sufferers of Crohn’s disease. Nuts in general are not easily digested by those with Crohn’s and typically worsen symptoms by causing severe stomach-lining irritation.
Sufferers of Crohn’s must ensure at least 25 percent of their daily caloric intake comes from protein. However, it’s not smart for people with Crohn’s to consume fatty or cured meats, as these are high in fat and tend to aggravate symptoms of diarrhea in some sufferers. Fatty or cured meats have little nutritional value, so Crohn’s patients should choose lean, high-proteins such as fish, smooth nut butters and soy.
Many sufferers of Crohn’s have issues consuming caffeinated beverages. Highly caffeinated beverages like coffees and teas should be avoided as they tend to exacerbate symptoms of Crohn’s—especially carbonated ones, as the gas can be particularly uncomfortable.
Often, sufferers of Crohn’s also develop lactose intolerance due to the damage of the digestive tract caused by chronic inflammation. As a result, sufferers are unable to digest the sugar found in most milk and dairy products. Dairy products are known to cause bloating, gas and other irritating symptoms for Crohn’s sufferers, so it’s smart to avoid them altogether. Instead, try drinking or eating products that contain almond or soy milk and avoid all cow byproducts.
Every person with Crohn’s disease will experience different reactions when consuming foods. It helps to have an idea of which specific foods trigger your individual Crohn’s symptoms. For more information on how to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, speak with your colorectal surgeon.