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Dietary Recommendations for Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s disease (CD)?

It is one of 2 inflammatory bowel diseases.

The other 1 is known as chronic ulcerative colitis (CUC).

The tissues involved:

Crohn’s Disease can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus but occurs mainly in the terminal ileum & ascending colon.

However, it can only involve the following areas:

  • stomach & duodenum – gastroduodenal CD
  • Jejenum & ileum – jejunoileitis
  • Colon only – Crohns colitis
  • Ileum only – ileitis
Symptoms of CD:

The most common symptoms are:

  • diarrheoa
  • acute abdominal pain
  • cramping
  • fever
  • fatigue
Diet to be used when there is no inflammation:

A high soluble fibre diet is recommended.

Foods high in soluble fibre are:

  • Oats & oat bran
  • Foods containing bran such as:
  • brown bread, all bran flakes & whole wheat flours.
  • Eat legumes without skins & pips such as:
  • split peas, split lentils & soya.
  • Eat fruit without skins, pips & seeds.
Diet to be used during inflammation:

Avoid the following foods:

  • Peas, brinjals, berries or figs as the skins are very difficult to remove.
  • Raw dried fruit.
  • All seeds including sunflower and sesame seeds.
  • Nuts & crunchy peanut butter or any food with nuts in it.
  • Legumes with husks such as baked beans, dried beans, dried peas & lentils.
  • Green mealies, samp, sweetcorn & bean sprouts.
  • Coconut (especially in cakes & biscuits).
  • Crushed wheat & whole wheat kernels.
  • Highly spiced foods & food with pepper.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol & sorbitol (a type of sweetener).
  • Limit gas-producing foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts,
  • onions & chives, peppers & carbonated drinks (coke, sprite).
Other general guidelines include:
  • Drink lots of fluid (8 glasses / 2 litres per day) to keep body hydrated & prevent constipation.
  • Avoid lactose-containing foods such as dairy if you have lactose intolerance.
  • Follow a low fat diet as meals high in fat may cause discomfort.
  • Avoid smoked foods as they may irritate the stomach (the intestines).
  • Eat small frequent meals during the day i.e 3 small meals plus 3 small snacks.
  • Avoid very hot or very cold foods.
By Melissa Pyle, BSc. in Dietetics, Registered Dietician (SA)

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